An interview with Paul Rabinow


In the series of interviews with academics Figure/Ground have interviewed Paul Rabinow. The interview discusses various aspects of Paul’s work, including his key work on Michel Foucault. It also, as is common with these Figure/Ground interviews, covers biographical routes into academia, the changing state of higher education and tips for early career academics. I thought this piece of advice to aspiring academics was particularly interesting:

The only real advice I give to students today is you may well think that given all that competition the best thing to do is to compete, whereas I think the best thing to do is not to compete and to be committed to what you are actually interested in. If you can find that, it comes across. Whereas so many other people have been looking for what is politically correct or the right thing to do or what the professor tells them to do or what is getting published. And a lot of people are doing that. If that happens to really interest you, that’s fine but if it doesn’t then you should do what interests you. Because I think the odds of going into the academy, where you get paid and have a house are not so high these days. And if you are not really interested in what you are doing you should do something else.

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