Reexamining Foucault on confession and obedience: Peter Schaefer's Radical Pietism as counter-conduct

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This article engages with Michel Foucault's idea of confession as the central Christian strategy of subjection or subjectivation and the link he proposes between confession and obedience. The article also wishes to show how confession can become counter-conduct. I apply Foucault's conceptions to early modern Lutheran confessionalism, elucidating how the confessional apparatus of the orthodox Lutheranism of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Sweden strived to mold obedient subjects who are able to conduct themselves. I also examine the transformation and overthrow of these subjectivation techniques in Radical Pietism, analyzing a dissident confession of faith by the Radical Pietist Peter Schaefer, who exemplifies perfect subjection, constituting himself as a perfectly obedient subject, and yet a failure of subjectivation in the sense of submission, insofar as for him, obedience becomes a strategy of empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Research on Religion
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)133-150
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • counter-conduct
  • Foucault
  • radical pietism
  • Lutheranism
  • confession of faith
  • Subjectivation

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