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Stuart J. Murray

Postes occupés

2015-2016 Chercheur-e invité-e,

Participations aux événements du CRÉ

17 mai 2016 Toward an Elegiac (Bio)Ethics: The Case of Makayla Sault
14 avril 2016 Rencontre annuelle Toronto/Montréal



Stuart J. Murray est titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en rhétorique et éthique et professeur agrégé aux départements de Langue et littérature anglaises et des Sciences de la santé de l’Université Carleton à Ottawa. Il est aussi directeur du laboratoire de recherche Digital Rhetorics + Ethics. Ses travaux de recherche gravitent autour de la construction de la subjectivité humaine et des liens entre la rhétorique et l’éthique de la « vie ». Ses recherches, financées par le CRSH et les IRSC, s’articulent autour des aspects éthiques en psychiatrie légale (prisons) et de l’expérience en salle d’isolement psychiatrique. Il travaille sur un projet d’ouvrage d’orientation néo-foucaldienne traitant des dimensions rhétoriques en regard de la biopolitique et la bioéthique intitulé, The Living From the Dead: Disaffirming Biopolitics. URL: http://stuartjmurray.com/

Stuart J. Murray is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Rhetoric & Ethics in the Department of English Language & Literature and the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa. He is also Director of the Digital Rhetorics + Ethics Lab. His work is concerned with the constitution of human subjectivity and the links between the rhetoric and ethics of “life,” in the multiple ways in which this term is deployed. Current SSHRC- and CIHR-funded research involves a study of ethics in forensic psychiatry settings (prisons) as well as a phenomenological study on the ethics of seclusion in mental health. He is currently completing a book-length project on the rhetorical dimensions of biopolitics and (bio)ethics after Foucault, tentatively titled, The Living From The Dead: Disaffirming Biopolitics.  URL: http://stuartjmurray.com/

Projet de recherche

My project responds ethically to contemporary biopolitical and neoliberal forms of governance, first described by Foucault in his 1978–1979 lecture course at the Collège de France. Foucault defines biopolitics as follows: “the endeavor, begun in the eighteenth century, to rationalize the problems presented to governmental practice by the phenomena characteristic of a group of living human beings constituted as a population: health, sanitation, birthrate, longevity, race….” Here, Foucault claims that in modernity the “life” of the population increasingly comes to inform the ways that individuals are governed—as collectivities or populations whose very lives and vital well-being are increasingly subject to governmental control, surveillance, regulation, segregation, health and welfare, pro-life policies, and improvement programs, through forecasts, education, risk-management, and statistical measures.

Today, however, Foucault’s early characterization of biopolitics as “the power to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die” must be understood as neoliberal—comprising a vast and anonymous global network that defines, regulates, counts, exposes, and encloses human life on our planet, from Davos to Darfur: “information” economies, “creative” economies, austerity, surveillance, big data, high-frequency electronic trading and transactional capitalism, the global debt market, the petroleum industry, war and the military-industrial complex, human migration, famine, HIV, Ebola, the pharmaceutical industry, cloning and genomics. Neoliberal biopolitics thus constitutes a way of life, a normalized onto-logic, that is beyond the state, “in excess of sovereign right,” as Foucault remarks, but more than this, he warns, “beyond all human sovereignty.”

My project’s objective is to think rhetorically—and thus ethically—about neoliberal biopolitics and the kinds of political subjects it produces. I challenge current biopolitical theorists who cede to the inevitability of our increasingly biopolitical and neoliberal futures. Esposito suggests that this trend is “irreversible,” but this does not mean, he claims, “that another kind of democracy is impossible, one that is compatible with the biopolitical turn.” Indeed, he argues that we have no choice but to choose between biopolitics and totalitarianism, and that biopolitics is the only “democratic” option. Esposito is not alone in embracing an “affirmative biopolitics” (e.g., Hardt & Negri, Rose, Campbell, Santner). However, I remain somewhat less sanguine, unconvinced that an affirmative biopolitics could affirm what we call human life, or what answers that call, democratically or otherwise. To affirm biopolitics is to affirm a politics whose project mobilizes the power to “make live” and “let die”—to accept that killing, however indirect, is the condition and the consequence of biopolitical life. These theorists have overlooked the rhetorical conditions in and through which we must pose the question of ethical life. My research project addresses this oversight and seeks to disaffirm biopolitics as a rhetorical and ethical endeavour.

Sélection de publications récentes


A. Blum & S.J. Murray (eds.), The Ethics of Care: Moral Knowledge, Communication, and the Art of Caregiving (under contract, Ashgate Publishing)

S.J. Murray & D. Holmes (eds.), Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare: Challenging the Principle of Autonomy in Bioethics (Ashgate Publishing, 2009)

Articles scientifiques

D. Holmes, S.J. Murray, & N. Knack, “Experiencing Seclusion in a Forensic Psychiatric Setting:  A Phenomenological Study,” Journal of Forensic Nursing (forthcoming 2015)

S.J. Murray, “Hegel’s Pathology of Recognition: A Biopolitical Fable,” Philosophy and Rhetoric (forthcoming 2015)

S. Burgess & S.J. Murray, “Cutting Both Ways: On the Ethical Entanglements of Human Rights, Rites, and Genital Mutilation,” American Journal of Bioethics, vol. 15, no. 2 (2015): 50–51  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/cutting_ both_ways.pdf

A. Guta, C. Strike, S. Flicker, S.J. Murray, R. Upshur, & T. Myers, “Governing Through Community-Based Research: Lessons from the Canadian HIV Research Sector,” Social Science & Medicine, vol. 123 (2014): 250–261  http://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/ S0277953614004572

S.J. Murray, “Affirming the Human? The Question of Biopolitics,” Law, Culture and the Humanities (online: June 2014), doi:10.1177/1743872114538908  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/murray_ lch2014.pdf

S.J. Murray & D. Holmes, “A New Form of Homicide in Canada’s Prisons: The Case of Ashley Smith,” truth-out.org (10 March 2014), see http://www.truth-out.org/news/ item/22321-a-new-form-of- homicide-in-canadas-prisons- the-case-of-ashley-smith

S.J. Murray, “Allegories of the Bioethical: Reading J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year,” Journal of Medical Humanities, vol. 35, no. 3 (2014): 321–334  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/jmh.pdf

S.J. Murray & D. Holmes, “Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and the Ethics of Body and Place: Critical Methodological Reflections,” Human Studies, vol. 37, no. 1 (2014): 15–30  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/ murrayholmes_human_studies.pdf

S.J. Murray & A. Guta, “Credentialization or Critique? Neoliberal Ideology and the Fate of the Ethical Voice,” American Journal of Bioethics, vol. 14, no. 1 (2014): 33–35  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/murray- guta-ajob.pdf

S.J. Murray & D. Holmes, “Toward a Critical Ethical Reflexivity: Phenomenology and Language in Maurice Merleau-Ponty,” Bioethics, vol. 27, no. 6 (2013): 341–347  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/murray- toward-a-critical-ethical- reflexivity-phen.pdf

S.J. Murray, “Phenomenology, Ethics, and the Crisis of the Lived-body,” Nursing Philosophy, vol. 13, no. 4 (2012): 289–294  https:// modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/ 12642725991010125244.pdf

Chapitres de livres

S.J. Murray & D. Holmes, “Seclusive Space: Crisis, Confinement, and Behavior Modification in Canadian Forensic Psychiatry Settings,” in Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration, and Solitary Confinement, eds. K. Reiter & A. Koenig (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015)

S.J. Murray & S. Burgess, “Delinquent Life: Forensic Psychiatry and Neoliberal Biopolitics,” in Power and the Psychiatric Apparatus: Repression, Transformation and Assistance, eds. D. Holmes, J.-D. Jacob, & A. Perron (Ashgate Publishing, 2014), 135–145  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/ delinquent_life.pdf

D. Holmes & S.J. Murray, “Censoring Violence: Censorship and Critical Research in Forensic Psychiatry,” in Power and the Psychiatric Apparatus: Repression, Transformation and Assistance, eds. D. Holmes, J.-D. Jacob, & A. Perron (Ashgate Publishing, 2014), 35–45  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/ censoring-violence.pdf

S.J. Murray & C. Vanderwees, “Unborn and Born-Again Victims: Governing Life through the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004,” in Security, Life and Death: Governmentality and Biopower in the Post-9/11 Era, ed. C. Colaguori (de Sitter Publications, 2013), 61­–84  https://modernrhetoric.files. wordpress.com/2010/11/unborn- and-born-again-victims.pdf

D. Holmes & S.J. Murray, “Pouvoir psychiatrique et gouvernement des corps deviants : analyse biopolitique des plans de modification de comportements en milieux de psychiatrie légale,” in Corps suspect, corps déviant, ed. S. Frigon (Éditions du remue-ménage, 2012), 69–86

G. Rail, S.J. Murray, & D. Holmes, “Human Rights and Qualitative Health Inquiry: On Biofascism and the Importance of Parrhesia,” in Qualitative Inquiry and Human Rights, eds. N.K. Denzin & M.D. Giardina (Left Coast Press, 2010), 218–241   https://modernrhetoric. files.wordpress.com/2010/11/ biofascism_and_parrhesia.pdf