The important question, though, isn't whether they want to distinguish themselves from Foucault, but whether the kinds of politics they lay out can be useful to various iterations of Foucauldian politics of resistance, and I believe they can.
But, you should just go straight to the source and read the Gramsci.
"There are stones buried in your soul,
and only a fool would blame the death of rock and roll." -- Thomas Dolby
On Sat, 26 Feb 2000 14:34:07 Nathan Widder wrote:
>> My impression is that Laclau and Mouffe are antagonistic to Foucauldian
>> notions of discourse and power. Their notion of identity politics means
>> identification with excluded minorities or workingclass groups -- they
>> have been criticized for allowing small businessmen to claim the status
>> of an excluded or oppressed group. They fault Foucault's work because
>> his idea of power as imposing a normal subject amounts to what they
>> consider a functionalist notion because theory can't free us from
>> power's operations.
>> How does that sound?
>> Philip Goldstein
>Your impression that they are antagonistic to Foucault is quite correct,
>though I do not think it is quite in the way you describe it here,
>though I could be misunderstanding you. Laclau and Mouffe argue that
>meaning and politics are dependent upon some moment of identity or
>identification, however precarious this moment might be. It is in this
>way that Laclau moves towards the Lacanian dynamic of desire as an
>always impossible movement towards identification -- a movement which is
>impossible because no actual object to be identified with can fully
>encapsulate the lost object that is being sought -- and Mouffe argues
>with Schmidt for the necessity of a friend/enemy binarism.
>For this reason, I do not think that your comment above is quite
>accurate. It is not that Foucault's conception of power is one which
>imposes a normal identity on a subject, because that is precisely what
>Laclau states is his conception of power: "Our thesis is that the
>constitution of a social identity is an act of power and that identity
>as such _is_ power" ("Minding the Gap", written with Lilian Zac, in
>Laclau, ed., The Making of Political Identities). Their problem with
>Foucault is in fact very much the opposite of this. Take a look at the
>couple of endnotes in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy where Laclau and
>Mouffe speak about Foucault and you'll see what I mean. They go
>specifically to the Foucaultian theme in the Archaeology of Knoledge
>concerning the regularity in dispersion, and argue that since dispersion
>only makes sense within a logic of totality, and since Foucault has
>denied himself the means to see how this totality could be constituted
>-- either by power, which is here merely dispersive, or by reference to
>the old mechanisms such as oeuvre or tradition which Foucault has
>already rejected -- that the project of tracing the limits of a
>discursive field through dispersion is self-defeating.
>The entire argument, I think, rests on a misreading of what Foucault is
>trying to accomplish. It is also unsustainable on Laclau and Mouffe's
>own terms. Laclau, for example, insists that their conception of
>antagonism differs from Hegelian negativity in that it is not
>dialectically recuperable into a positivity or totality (see
>Emancipation(s), p. 29). But if this is the case, then it is
>inconsistent to argue that Foucaultian dispersion presupposes totality,
>since there is no reason to believe that this dispersion isn't precisely
>a form of non-recuperable difference. Ultimately, their hostility to
>Foucault, I think, clearly rests upon their prior commitment to the idea
>that meaning requires identity -- a commitment similar to the one I
>mentioned in that Foucault/Derrida thread initiated by Loren. This is
>something that Foucault rejects, which is a central reason why I would
>say, against Philip, that power for him doesn't create a normal subject
>BTW, Stuart Elden had mentioned a while back that Laclau seems to have
>changed his position with regards to Derrida and ethics. I heard a bit
>about the Essex conference. All I can say to this is that having gone
>through a Phd with Laclau, I'm sure on some level he might have changed
>his views, but I'm not going to see this as some sort of complete
>reversal until I see him reevaluate both his Lacanian position, and his
>views on Foucault (and, for that matter, Deleuze). I have the feeling
>he hasn't budged in these respects.
HotBot - Search smarter.