You raise difficult questions that would need long developments - more than
what one is willing to make on a sunday morning! Without wanting to 'purify'
Foucault's thought, I would nonetheless make four comments following yours.
1)Combining Foucault's governemental perspective with others that have used a
'domination' language is in my mind forgetting that this perspective's
orginality was in part an effort to get rid of it. Not that domination is
non-existant for him, but they are rather seen as 'effects' of a series of
dispositifs rather than their condition.
2)I would also be careful if you use the 'actor' concept. It is not 'par
hasard' that Foucault does not use the term. For him, subjects were not simply
'actors' playing out 'structures'.
3)Governementality was meant to study liberal regimes of government. As such,
it was not designed to study how subjects were rendered 'docile' by some
overarching power-network - but rather programmes of government in which
subjects were conceived of as free. That is, as being able and legitimate of
living and behaving otherwise that 'directed to'.
4)Incoherence of practices and institutions is not a foucauldian concern per
se. He however seeks to map out how these incoherences find their conditions of
possibility in singular and contingent (governmental - which is a different
thing than 'state') power/knowledge regimes.
Selon Hiro Saito <hirosophy@xxxxxxxxxxx>:
> Ahh, a joy of studying for a prelim....
> I'm wondering whether it's reasonable to conceptualize Foucault's
> "governmentality" in terms of Bourdieu's "habitus" (and vice versa).
> According to Foucault, "government is the right disposition of things...
> [that is] with government it is a question not of imposing law on men, but
> of disposing things" (1991:93;95). In other words, governmentality entails
> inculcation of certain, govern-mental, durable dispositions--habitus--into
> actors, which can render them docile. Put in Althusser's words, actors
> become willing to submit to their own subjugation "all by themselves" due to
> a set of practices conducive to the emergence of such a "govern-mental"
> self, which is embedded in state apparatuses (1971).
> In this respect, I'm also wondering about the difference/relationship
> between Foucault and Althusser. Their arguments about the production of a
> certain form of self sound similar. But, at the same time, I tend to think
> that Althusser's argument assumes the systematicity and coherence of
> practices and institutions within which a certain subjectivity emerges, as
> his student Poulantzas emphasizes a "specific internal unity" of state
> apparatuses 1969:301), contrary to Foucault who argues that those practices
> and institutions can be incoherent and sometimes contradictory.
> What do you think?
> Hiro Saito
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Étudiant au Doctorat
Département de Communication
Université de Montréal
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