Understanding conscientious objection as resistance: theories of self in Stirner and Foucault

Çol, Berna
The main objective of this thesis is to examine conscientious objection to military service as a case of resistance to modern power in relation with the possibilities of “self”. In this context, Max Stirner’s theory of “ego” and Michel Foucault’s conceptualisations of modern power and modern subject are critically analyzed. In accordance with the relation between conscientious objection and the possibilities of self, Foucault’s theories of “power over life” and “ethics of care of self” are discussed by examining disciplinary power and bio-power in relation with militarized society characterized by universal male conscription. On the other hand, Stirner’s theory of “the union of egoists” and his conceptualization of “Ownness” is employed in order to investigate the possibilities of constituting an autonomous self. This study reveals that the act of conscientious objection overlaps objector’s endeavour of creating an autonomous self. It is argued that following Stirnerian and Foucauldian conceptualisations of “self”, the objector, by refusing external power over his/her will in militarized society, indeed, engages in a struggle to constitute his/her own definition of self and his/her way of life.


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Citation Formats
B. Çol, “Understanding conscientious objection as resistance: theories of self in Stirner and Foucault ,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.