From: John Ransom <ransom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 01:51:19 -0400 (EDT)
Gordon Bearn writes:
Would Deleuze's suggestion of a "certain vitalism" in foucault be more
acceptable if it didn't point to LIFE (one of the categories whose contingent
birth is sketched in ORDER OF THINGS) but rather to soemthing more like the
new economy of "bodies and pleasures" which surfaces in the last
HISTORY OF SEXUALITY vol 1.
Gordon [end quotation from Gordon]
In my opinion, no. Notice, for instance, that this is precisely the
paragraph that Hinrich Fink-Eitel, in his really excellent little book on
Foucault, latches onto to convict Foucault of a backdoor endorsement of
the repressive hypothesis in _Foucault: An Introduction_ (trans. Edward
Dixon, Pennbridge Books, Philadelphia, ISBN 1-880055-02-3), pp. 64-65 and
Chapter 3 in general. "One may also ask," Fink-Eitel says, "from where
will come resistance to the total power of discipline, to the sexual
*mechanism* and to bio-power. Foucault's answer: 'The basis for the
counterattack (is) not sexual desire, but rather the body and pleasure.'
[This is the quote Bearn refers to from SEXUALITY above.--jsr] . . . . The
prediscursive, anarchistic world of the 'body and pleasure' is the silent
prerequisite for the apparent monism of 'discursive' power. For nowhere is
it explained to us what the meaning of 'the body and pleasure' is if not
desire, sex or sexuality . . . . This means then that *The Will to
Knowledge*, contrary to its conscious target, has basically remained the
repressive theory. The discursive world of of power suppresses the
pre-discursive, anarchistic world of 'the body and pleasure.' (p. 64)
As a result, Fink-Eitel concludes, "Foucault's power theory failed" (64).
But that conclusion is only justified if one puts a huge and unjustified
weight on that last paragraph from SEXUALITY. If, however, one accepts the
weighting proposed by Fink-Eitel, then one must admit the force of his
(implicit) claim that references to "body and pleasure" are not that
different from an appeal to a Bergsonian/Simmelian vitalism.