From: Tom Blancato <tblancato@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue Dec 6 22:17:37 1994
Here is how you make a Foucauldian fascist (one of probably many ways): Bring
his anti-hegemonic ethos to bear on someone who is ignorant of Foucault, of
the traditiosn from which he operates, etc., with enormous social pressure,
operating in groups having a "seizure" structure on certain
unthematic/unthought levels. We posit this unfortunate as evincing signs of
hegemony, yet, for the sake of this hypothesis, he/she "has hegemony"
but in a form which is actually non-hegemonic (i.e., a cab driver who's
worked out a kind of experiential "deal" with preposterous trafficl laws in
which he sort of repeats the laws and then tends to break them, but in ways
that never come to the kind of discourse that our Foucauldians will take
seriously, awnd we can easily substitute any number of other stories here).
So our Foucauldians sort of terrorize the "perceived fascist". The easy
solution to this dilemma is that they're not "real Foucauldians", as they
still are seizing too much, partaking in hegemony, etc. I wouldn't take
that route (we can posit them as , for example, a philosophy department, if
you like, all having written works predominatly on Foucault).
This is not meant to be a "bomb" tossed provocatively close to "home" for list
participants, nor do I think it is too artifical an example. What is at
issue here is a certian fragility and historicity/situated ness of different
worlds, conditions, discourses, ways of living, etc. The point here for
me works strongly in favor of Foucault, because it is precisely Foucault's
discourse which opens up at this somewhat most critical point this close a
question of possibility, which if taken very seriously could be difficult to
handle in a number of ways. I'm thinking that I'm avoiding the accusation
that I'm using a kind of bad "ju-jitsu" here, mainly because of WHEN i'm
brining this up...As the end our fantasy will suggest, taking this kind of
projection/fantasy about fascism as hysteria, wh ile an acceptable route for
critique, can also fit right into this hypothesis. The "hysteria" I refer to
here that very common problem of language, in which people who are not
schooled in philosophy complain about the oppressive or at least exclusive
nature of discourses others don't understand (which of course has a reverse
formulation, too, which philosophy people suffer quite a lot).
We can then imagine our Foucauldians wildly attacking (and there's nothing
wilder these days than the indirect attack) within the context of something
like necessity (our "cab driver" wants to finish his degree in
philosophy, has a famil, or a self at least, to care for, but has said
something which value, indicates that she/he endorses said fascistic traffic
laws, while in his/her mute ((both due to lack of knowledge and the practices,
if you like, of our Foucauldians)) way has in fact performed, on a level
which has been systematically valorized and excludedn from Foucault's
discourse, something like a very deconstructive move )the Fascistic elements
of the cab driver's discourse. Said cabbie, unable to cope, presents in a
hospital, where his symptoms are disappeard through medication under the
vastly complex operations of a psychiatric illusion replete with panoptical
functions, grotesque phenomenologies of symptoms, viry strong men to enforce
Again, I think Foucault can take this kind of projection. I honestly do...>
>So if I may rephrase your question to say, "Please explain
>>how a Fascist Foucaultian can exist?" I would like to try a
>>But first I have a question: What is it about a fascist
>>Foucaultian that gives you pause? What is it in Foucault's
>>theory, books, arguments--as distinct from his personal
>>life and personal political commitments--that makes you
>>wonder about this particular possibility?
>"It's not a matter of emancipating truth from every sytem of power (which
>would be a chimera, for truth is already power) but of detaching the power
>of truth from the forms of hegemony, social, economic and cultural, within
>which it operates at the present time (Power & Knowledge/ed. Colin Gordon,
>This and hundreds of other similar quotes, I think, justify my skepticism
>about Foucaultian fascism.
>>And so for instance a fascist could read _Discipline and
>>Punish_ and come away saying: Some great ideas here! I
>>should try some of this stuff!
>There is a unceasing debate about whether Heidegger was a Nazi on the
>Heidegger list. Are you saying there is such a thing as a Nazi Foucault,
>whoops, I mean a Nazi Foucaultian?
>(By the way, I'm not sure there can be a Foucaultian or a Nietzschean, for
>the reasons you raise.)
Tom Blancato Not satisfied with the progress.