From: "Gabriel Ash" <Gabriel.Ash.1@xxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 98 12:08:39
On Wed, 29 Jul 1998 01:32:52 -0400 (EDT), M.A. King wrote:
>> Foucault would argue that language and specialised languages position
>> people in various ways. It is a site of power. So, 'intellectual' texts are
>> a site of power which, through their specialised language, discipline the
>> reader in a particular position.
>> How would Foucault respond to the suggestion that his own writing ... which
>> is specialised ... does the same thing?
>I have a feeling you're assuming that discipline per se is a bad thing
>(which, for Foucault, despite egregious (that's the word of the day;)
>interpretations like Rorty's, is not the case), and that you think you've
>caught Foucault in a self-referential catch-22. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyway,
>I'm sure he would respond that it does, of course.
Though I agree that (F would agree) texts position subjects and put demands
on them, and that although power is chanelled in this reading encounter it is not a
bad thing, I'd say there is a great difference between the effects and the modes
subjectification of a scientific text and those of survelliance mechanism like the prison,
the army. etc. F. doesn't watch you when you read his books.
Now, there is of course a reading of scientific text that is part of a larger power mechanism,
when one reads the text as, say, a student at a university. Here the question of the
less benign aspects of discipline are more relevant, and here it is more relevant to stress
that discipline can be, but doesn't have to be, a bad thing. (But here, it is not the power of
the text that is the problem.)