Cambridge University Press, 2011
Through an ambitious and critical revision of Michel Foucault's investigation of ethics,
James Faubion develops an original program of empirical inquiry into the ethical domain.
From an anthropological perspective, Faubion argues that Foucault's specification of the
analytical parameters of this domain is the most productive point of departure in
conceptualizing its distinctive features. He further argues that Foucault's framework
is in need of substantial revision to be of genuinely anthropological scope. In making
this revision, Faubion illustrates his program with two extended case studies: one of a
Portuguese marquis and the other of a dual subject made up of the author and a millenarian
prophetess. The result is a conceptual apparatus that is able to accommodate ethical pluralism
and yield an account of the limits of ethical variation, providing a novel resolution of the problem
of relativism that has haunted anthropological inquiry into ethics since its inception.
In addition to ethics, his interests include epistemic authority, kinship, social and cultural theory,
aesthetics, heterodoxy and radicalism. He has published widely on research interests,
including The Shadows and Lights of Waco: Millennialism Today (2001), and two edited volumes
of Essential Works of Michel Foucault (1998 and 2000).