On Foucault’s Concept of Political Spirituality


  • Alex Taek-Gwang Lee Kyung Hee University

Palabras clave:

Foucault, Political Spirituality, Heidegger, Shari'ati, Schmitt, Sovereignity, Dictatorship


In this essay, I will argue the relationship between Foucault’s concept of “political spirituality” and the Iranian Revolution. Regarding Foucault’s concept of “political spirituality”, what must be stressed is that spirituality is combined with politics. For him, spirituality is a desire to liberate the body from the prison of the soul. He regarded spirituality as nothing to do with a religious doctrine, while he did not reject that Shi’i Islam was the source of political spirituality. Therefore, it would be necessary to ask what kind of politics can be realized through spiritual practice. I contend that this question is about the rationale of Foucault’s intervention into the Iranian Revolution. Unlike mischievous Western propaganda, the establishment of theocracy was a realistic solution to the limit of liberal democracy. The disjunctive dualism of political Islamism, affirming a difference between the representative democracy and God’s decision, suggests an alternative to Schmitt’s answer to the question concerning liberal democracy. I argue that God is nothing else than the void of sovereign power, prohibiting any human tyrant who would occupy the place of the absolute authority. Only divine violence can be possessing the authority to suspend the legal system and declare a state of exception. Foucault’s concept of “political spirituality” should be grasped with this concept of political Islamism to solve the problem of liberalism.