Sorry, I got a bit confused as to where I was sending this at first.. I've
already had one interesting reply - I welcome more. I admit, my
interpretation was not particularly well phrased. I drew it from a text on
estate regeneration dealing with empowerment as a positive-sum experience,
claiming that empowerment means enabling people to take action. The
comparison with Foucault comes from their assertion that Foucault argues
that it is open to any actor to take power by engaging in discourse about
what can and cannot be done. This is where I see the link with certain types
of partnership activity. Am I taking too literal a translation of Foucault
here. There are themes in Truth and Power which would seem to support this
interpretation, but I am only just starting out on the long and winding road
that is Foucault.
From: Sawyer, Phil
Hello as well
I too am new to the Foucault list. I must confess I'm also fairly new to
Foucault. I'm doing a PhD on community participation in urban regeneration
partnerships at Sheffield Hallam University. Initially I was interested in
this as a mirror of the colonisation process proposed by Habermas. However,
as I've become increasingly involved in empowerment literature I've realised
that Foucault's ideas regarding power are infinitely more helpful (and
interesting!) - namely, that power is not necessarily a finite resource
which needs to be transferred, but a function of the multiple power
relationships which take place. More specifically, the synergy model of
partnership suggests that power can be created by two or more partners
working towards common aims, which would seem to indicate some kind of
correlation with Foucault. Am I reading Foucault correctly here, because if
so many of the assumptions taken for granted in my field are held up to
question. I'd appreciate it if anyone has any comments (be gentle with me,
I'm only a beginner)
By the way, has this gone out to everyone? I am staggeringly inept at using
email. My apologies if this has only gone to one person.
One more thing. Does anyone know if there is a list discussing the work of
Mike Davies and William Gibson. I am far more interested in Gibson as an
(admittedly pessimistic) urban theorist than as a cyberpunk utopian. I feel
that Gibson's underlying concerns with the privatisation of public space and
public life, drawn explicitly from the work of Davies, have been rather
I'll stop now
From: Eric Nelson Shook
Subject: Re: Hello
Date: 12 December 1996 20:18
> Heh, heh, at current count there are actually 530 people subbed to
> here group.
You'd wonder where the heck they all are!
I haven't responded to any of the messages I've seen since
I felt that in each case the person was quite close to the
basic gist of Foucault, yet still somehow polluting the
conceptualization of the work with old biases that creep up
out of language formulating. (Sketchy & ungrammatical,
sorry...I'm writing a paper on F. as we speak, yet I have to
make it down to the bar in an hour.....leaving me 3 days
to write 35 pages....UGH! I may as well do it drunk, right?)
I'd say that Foucault is a tricky guy to speak about. The
form your use to express his ideas can mistakenly betray
old ways of thinking. Folks may have the gist of his points,
but, to really speak of Foucault well you must study him for
quite a while before even a few words can be put together
without betraying an inability to examine the discipline which
you speak from, at the same time as joining the dialogue.
I can imagine that those who really haev a grasp are afraid
of having their time absorbed by constantly having to explain
what others popularly misinterpret, or only partially grasp.
In fac,t I've just finished reading a great amount of material
on the body, and I am shocked by how many academics
>from accross the disicplines try to reform his ideas into
analytic structures. Even those trying to include him without
changing him come to speak of power as an energy, when
it is quite clear that Foucault sees power as a function
without essence which produces truth relationships, but is
not itself a substantial thing.
WHile the word energy is small, it makes a growing world
of difference since its use begins to multiply the problems
with its frequency of use!
So, if folks are pretty silent here, I cannot blame them.
Foucault is even worse than Nietzsche and Kant rolled
together....or dare I say folded into one another?<wink>
Eric Nelson Shook mailto:enshook@xxxxxxxxxxx
Student of Philosophy & Cultural Anthropology
"Alienation hasn't enough sense to deliberate
over circumstances. It has no sense of humor."