Culture and the Media
The Cultivated Subject
Foucault, M. (1984). On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress. In: Rabinow, P. (ed.) The Foucault Reader: An Introduction to Foucault's Thought. London: Penguin, pp. 340-72 (359-66).

In examining ancient Greek culture Michel Foucault discovers an understanding and approach to the self which is significantly different from the 'Californian cult of the self' with which we are familiar today. The Greeks, he explains, considered their own existence, their self, to be a 'work of art' in need of constant care and cultivation.

Further Reading

Critchley, S. (2008). Foucault. In: The Book of Dead Philosophers. London: Granta, pp. 238-39. A very short account of Foucault's death, which engages with his idea of the care of the self.

Elliott, A. (2001). Concepts of the Self. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 78-102 (Chapter 3). Short introduction to Foucault's 'technologies of the self' with particular reference to sex and power.

Foucault, M. (1988). The Care of the Self: The History of Sexuality, Volume 3. Hurley, R., trans. London: Allen Lane. Sex, subjectivity, and cultivation of the self in ancient Rome.

Foucault, M. (1988). The Political Technology of Individuals. In: Martin, L. H., Gutman, H. and Hutton, P. H. (eds.) Technologies of the Self: A Seminar With Michel Foucault. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, pp. 145-62. Public lecture in which Foucault considers the production and managment of individuals and populations by the state.

Foucault, M. (1988). An Aesthetics of Existence. Sheridan, A., trans. In: Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984. Kritzman, L. D. (ed.). New York: Routledge, Chapman & Hall, pp. 47-53; also available as: The Concern for Truth. Johnston, J., trans. (1996). In: Foucault Live: Interviews 1961-1984. Lotringer, S. (ed.) 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University/Semiotext(e), pp. 450-54. Interview in which Foucault discusses authors, intellectuals, and the benefits of Antiquity's 'aesthetics of existence'.

Foucault, M. (1988). The Ethic of Care for the Self as a Practice of Freedom (interview). J. D. Gauthier and S. J. (trans.). In: Bernauer, J. and Rasmussen, D. (eds) The Final Foucault. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 1-20. Interview in which Foucault discussing the subject, truth, ethics and power, with examples from the philosophy of Antiquity.

Foucault, M. (1992). The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, Volume 2. Hurley, R., trans. London: Penguin. Sexual behaviour as a domain of moral valuation and choice in classical Greek thought.

Foucault, M. (1997). Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 1. Rabinow, P. (ed.) London: Allen Lane. Large collection of Foucault's work on ethics and subjectivity, including several pieces on the care of the self.

Foucault, M. (1997). Subjectivity and Truth. In: Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 1. Rabinow, P. (ed.). London: Allen Lane, pp. 87-92. Short summary of Foucault's lectures on techniques of the self, subjectivity, and the regulation of sexual acts in the Hellenic-Roman period.

Foucault, M. (1997). Sexuality and Solitude. In: Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 1. Rabinow, P. (ed.). London: Allen Lane, pp. 175-84. Reprinted in: Religion and Culture. Carrette, J. R. (ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 182-87. Discusses obligations to truth as techniques of the self, traced back to Christian sexuality and concern for control of rebellious sexual thought.

Foucault, M. (1997). Self Writing. Hurley, R., trans. In: Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 1. Rabinow, P. (ed.). London: Allen Lane, pp. 207-22; also translated as: Writing the Self. Hobart, A., trans. In: Davidson, A. I. (ed.) (1997). Foucault and His Interlocutors. Chicago: Chicago University Press, pp. 234-47. On the role of writing in the cultivation of the self just before Christianity. Foucault considers hypomnemata, correspondence and self training in the early Roman Empire.

Foucault, M. (1999). Religion and Culture. Carrette, J. R. (ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press. Includes essays on Christianity, sexuality, and subjectivity.

Foucault, M. (1999). About the Beginnings of the Hermeneutics of the Self. In: Religion and Culture. Carrette, J. R. (ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 158-81. Two lectures, one on Classical self-examination and constitution of the self, the other on Christianity as a confessional religion.

Foucault, M. (2005). The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-1982. Burchell, G., trans. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Antiquity's notions of self and 'care of the self', and how they relate to modern conceptions of subjectivity.

Gauntlett, D. (2002). Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction. London: Routledge, pp. 115-33 (Chapter 6). Characteristically clear chapter on Foucault, discourses, and lifestyles.

Hadot, P. (1995). Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Chase, M., trans. Oxford: Blackwell. Discusses ancient Greek and Roman philosophies and practical 'spiritual exercises' for life, and a little Foucault.

Hadot, P. (1995). Marcus Aurelius. In: Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Chase, M., trans. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 179-205. On Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, which should be considered not as a psychological or pessimistic diary, but as a stoical hypomnemata.

Hadot, P. (1995). Reflections on the Idea of 'Cultivation of the Self'. In: Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Chase, M., trans. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 206-13. Reprinted in: Du Gay, P., Evans, J. and Redman, P. (eds) (2001). Identity: A Reader. London: Sage, pp. 373-79. Discussion and critique of Foucault's understanding of ancient Greek practices of care of the self.

Martin, L. H., Gutman, H. and Hutton, P. H. (eds) (1988). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar With Michel Foucault. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. Collection of essays by and about Foucault, focusing on his 'technologies of the self'.

Mills, S. (2003). Michel Foucault. London: Routledge. Short overview of Foucault's work. On his understanding of 'the subject' see pp. 97-107 (Chapter 6).

Smart, B. (2002). Michel Foucault. London: Routledge. Succinct, comprehensive overview of the trajectory of Foucault's research through his key texts. On the cultivated subject, see pp. 107-17.