Sociology Index


In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls, although immortality is disputed within Judaism. Soul as used by Paul Michel Foucault refers to what psychologists mean by the psyche, the self, subjectivity or human consciousness. Foucault argues, for example, that the development of the penitentiary in the early 19th century resulted in a shift from punishing the body to punishing the soul. The soul, in religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul comprises the mental abilities of a living being, like reason, character, consciousness, perception, and thinking.

Confessions of the soul - Foucault and theological culture. James Bernauer, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.

This Article studies Foucault’s treatment of religious culture and some theological responses to his approach. Foucault examined some modern practices as exhibiting a ‘Christianization-in-depth’, as, for example, in the extension of confession as a continuing practice in recent and current political culture.

Confessions of faith characterize both fascism and communism and the confessional form of the latter showed extensive debt to the legacy of eastern Christian practices. The Soviet hermeneutics of the self contrasted with the western form because the self-knowledge of the former is not a western confession of desires and movements of the soul but, rather, coming to a clarity in grasping how one is regarded in the eyes of others.

Mind-Forged Manacles and Habits of the Soul: Foucault's Debt to Heidegger 
Peter Lucas, Lancaster University. This article interprets the state of "subjection," which Foucault took to be characteristicof the modern subject of power/knowledge, as an abiding psychic dispositionanalogous to Heidegger's "inauthentic self-understanding." Theauthor begins by arguing, against prevailing orthodoxy, that in Discipline and Punish, Foucault is already centrally concerned with the power effects of formsof psychic self-relation.