I have been invited to contribute a chapter to the Routledge International Handbook for Psychoanalysis, Subjectivity and Technology. I have revised and expanded my work on Foucault and technology and submitted it to the editors in March.
Title: Foucault’s Care of Self: A Response to Modern Technology
Abstract: Our ever-increasing reliance on technology often brings anxiety about the right way to incorporate it into our daily lives. Drawing on Plato’s Alcibiades, Michel Foucault offers us a fresh way to approach modern technology through his understanding of a proper care of self. At the advent of modernity, however, Foucault argues that this historic “care of self” becomes reduced to a “knowledge of self.” The reduction of care of self is based on a narrow view of subjectivity, where the human is characterized solely as an acquirer of knowledge. In this paper, I will first describe Foucault’s ideas of technologies of self and care of self in order to illustrate a full notion of subjectivity. Next, I will demonstrate how the modern reduction of care of self to knowledge of self exposes many of the weaknesses found in modern technology. Third, I will consider examples of modern technology such as geography blogs, digital books, smart watches and prayer apps and argue that a full care of self helps us distinguish between harmful and healing technologies of self.