Toward a foucaultian epistemology of resistance: Counter-memory, episte-mic friction, and guerrilla pluralism

José Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


In this paper I argue that Foucaultian genealogy offers a critical ap-proach to practices of remembering and forgetting which is crucial for resisting op-pression and dominant ideologies. For this argument I focus on the concepts of counter-history and counter-memory that Foucault developed in the 1970's. In the first section I analyze how the Foucaultian approach puts practices of remembering and forgetting in the context of power relations, focusing not only on what is remem-bered and forgotten, but how, by whom, and with what effects. I highlight the criti-cal possibilities for resistance that this approach opens up, and I illustrate them with Ladelle McWhorter's genealogy of racism in Anglo-America. In the second section I put the Foucaultian approach in conversation with contemporary work in prag-matism and critical theory on the social epistemology of memory. In the third and final section, I explore some of the implications of the Foucaultian notion of resis-tance and what I term guerrilla pluralism for contemporary epistemological discus-sions of ignorance in standpoint theory and race theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-35
Number of pages27
JournalFoucault Studies
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Counter-history
  • Counter-memory
  • Critical theory
  • Epistemology
  • Genealogy
  • Insurrection
  • Knowledge/ignorance
  • Memory/oblivion
  • Michel Foucault
  • Oppression
  • Pluralism
  • Pragmatism
  • Race theory
  • Racism
  • Resistance
  • Standpoint theory
  • William James

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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