However, I fundamentally disagree with his interpretation of what is possible within the theory of Michel Foucault, and I will argue, in the most comradely spirit, that Foucault in fact provides priceless insights for resistance. Foucault was trying to bring into question the very social construction and interfusion of power and knowledge in the creation of the subject; of course he chose his words particularly carefully. Such grand projects are difficult and thus require difficulty, hence why comforting reductionist versions of Foucault, which may seem easy to refute, are commonplace.
As a student he was brilliant but psychologically tormented.
From the s on, Foucault was very active politically. He frequently lectured outside France, particularly in the United States, and in had agreed to teach annually at the University of California at Berkeley. One might question whether Foucault is in fact a philosopher.
His academic formation was in psychology and its history as well as in philosophy, his books were mostly histories of medical and social sciences, his passions were literary and political.
This article will present him as a philosopher in these two dimensions. Intellectual Background We begin, however, with a sketch of the philosophical environment in which Foucault was educated.
Merleau-Ponty, whose lectures he attended, and Heidegger were particularly important. But he soon turned away from both. Jean-Paul Sartre, working outside the University system, had no personal influence on Foucault. But, as the French master-thinker of the previous generation, he is always in the background.
Like Sartre, Foucault began from a relentless hatred of bourgeois society and culture and with a spontaneous sympathy for marginal groups such as the mad, homosexuals, and prisoners.
They both also had strong interests in literature and psychology as well as philosophy, and both, after an early relative lack of political interest, became committed activists. But in the end, Foucault seemed to insist on defining himself in contradiction to Sartre. Three other factors were of much more positive significance for the young Foucault.
In a quite different vein, Foucault was enthralled by French avant-garde literature, especially the writings of Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, where he found the experiential concreteness of existential phenomenology without what he came to see as dubious philosophical assumptions about subjectivity.
Major Works Since its beginnings with Socrates, philosophy has typically involved the project of questioning the accepted knowledge of the day.
Later, Locke, Hume, and especially, Kant developed a distinctively modern idea of philosophy as the critique of knowledge. What might have seemed just contingent features of human cognition for example, the spatial and temporal character of its perceptual objects turn out to be necessary truths.
Foucault, however, suggests the need to invert this Kantian move. Rather than asking what, in the apparently contingent, is actually necessary, he suggests asking what, in the apparently necessary, might be contingent. The focus of his questioning is the modern human sciences biological, psychological, social.
These purport to offer universal scientific truths about human nature that are, in fact, often mere expressions of ethical and political commitments of a particular society. Each of his major books is a critique of historical reason.
Standard histories saw the nineteenth-century medical treatment of madness developed from the reforms of Pinel in France and the Tuke brothers in England as an enlightened liberation of the mad from the ignorance and brutality of preceding ages.
Moreover, he argued that the alleged scientific neutrality of modern medical treatments of insanity are in fact covers for controlling challenges to conventional bourgeois morality.
In short, Foucault argued that what was presented as an objective, incontrovertible scientific discovery that madness is mental illness was in fact the product of eminently questionable social and ethical commitments. But the socio-ethical critique is muted except for a few vehement passagespresumably because there is a substantial core of objective truth in medicine as opposed to psychiatry and so less basis for criticism.
But there is little or nothing of the implicit social critique found in the History of Madness or even The Birth of the Clinic.
Instead, Foucault offers an analysis of what knowledge meant—and how this meaning changed—in Western thought from the Renaissance to the present.
At the heart of his account is the notion of representation.Foucault challenges the idea that power is wielded by people or groups by way of ‘episodic’ or ‘sovereign’ acts of domination or coercion, seeing it instead as dispersed and pervasive.
‘Power is everywhere’ and ‘comes from everywhere’ so in this sense is neither an agency nor a structure (Foucault 63).
Briefly: Power subverts and inverts. On each occasion of resistance where resistance triumphs power subverts and inverts. For this reason he said the purpose of resistance is not to overcome but to pfmlures.com victory makes power change, but it never goes away.
Michel Foucault: Political Thought The work of twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault has increasingly influenced the study of politics. This influence has mainly been via concepts he developed in particular historical studies that have been taken up as analytical tools; “governmentality” and ”biopower” are the most prominent of these.
are the locus where the power and the resistance to it are exerted 10 Mark G.E. Kelly thinks that these features can be further nuanced.
In his opinion, Foucault's view of. Johanna Oksala has produced a provocative reading of Michel Foucault's work on the issues of freedom and resistance to normalizing oppression.
Although many commentators have contended that Foucault's historicization of subjectivity leads to metaphysical determinism and eliminates the very. Ls mer The Subject and Power Michel Foucault Why Study Power? The Question of the Subject The ideas which I would like to discuss here represent neither a theory Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines.
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