Foucault avoids the term «ascétisme» and prefers «ascétique». The following paper examines this choice, which is meaningful as we can see it in the weighty introduction of L’usage des plaisirs, where the history of sexuality is defined as an history of ascetic. To understand this perspective, we distinguish Foucault’s problem from Nietzsche’s problem. For Nietzsche, «ascetism» was certainly a matter of great consequence, but it was in the context of a fight again utilitarianism (Bentham) on one side, again pessimism (Schopenhauer) on the other side: ascetism is a proof that man may desire pain because pleasure can be found inpain. For Foucault, «ascetic» denotes an attempt to write an history of morals in the context of a struggle with an history of code on one side, and with an history of ideology on the other side: ascetic is the name of the relations which subject keeps up with himself because he makes one’s own elements of code — Foucault says «modes de subjectivation». But a such answer is too an answer to Marx’s problem, problem of ideology, which Foucault had before rudely put aside. Therefore «ascetic» may appear as the new, the last and the uncertain attempt to make a place to «subject» beyond Sartre and Althusser. This opens space of a new historicity.
Ascétisme – Ascétique – Nietzsche – Marx – Ideology