A Nietzschean reading of Foucauldian thinking: Constructing a project of the self within an ontology of becoming

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Journal Article
Organization, 2011, 18 (4), pp. 497 - 515
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As influential as Michel Foucault may be in organization theory, several critics have seriously questioned the epistemological foundations of the Foucauldian philosophical project (Ackroyd and Thompson, 1995, 1999; Caldwell, 2007; Habermas, 1990; Newton, 1994, 1998; Reed, 2000; Thompson, 1993). If these remain unanswered, the Foucauldian approach could be relegated to a self-contradictory, ultra-relativist and partial reading grid of 'reality'. In this article, we develop a Nietzschean reading of Foucault's thinking that offers answers to these criticisms, and reinstates it as an independent philosophical project grounded in epistemological assumptions that are coherent with its ontology and methodology. Finally, we suggest that, following Nietzsche, the whole Foucauldian project can be approached as a genealogy of morals. Subsequently, we call on scholars to further explore the 'third generation' of Foucauldian studies which would study management practices as morals understood as an 'art de vivre'. © The Author(s) 2010.
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