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The Italian Foucault: Communication, networks, and the dispositif

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(Dissertation) Ph.D.
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This dissertation constructs new lines of affinity between Michel Foucault and Marxism, specifically in relation to Communication Studies. It is comprised of both a critical history of oppositional intellectuals, and a postmarxist theory of the biopolitical dynamics of capital. It examines the emergence of Michel Foucault?s later historical and philosophical work concerning the deployment of power/knowledge relations, its reception by and sources in a heterogeneous group of Italian and French post/Marxist intellectuals in the mid- to late-1970s, and its applications to a variety of political and cultural practices mediated by new networks of Information and Communication Technology, especially in North America. The argument hinges on close readings of previously overlooked, underestimated, and/or untranslated interviews, lectures and essays by the late Foucault, a detailed presentation of oppositional movements in Italy and of academic politics in France in the 1970s, and a subsequent extension of some important innovations in communications, namely in response to the shift our post-broadcast media culture. Finally, it proposes the network as a more adequate theoretical form for understanding the interface of power, culture, and subjectivity within the complex and contradictory dynamics of global capitalist communication networks.
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