From: Bryan Clark <bryan_clark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 15:55:57 -0600 (GMT)
1. Gaze isn't the word
Hate to harp on this but what you are describing is a set of discourses surrounding drugs. There is no professional exercising disciplinary power. Even if power had fundamentally shifted gears and somehow what you said was right, it wouldn't be an exercise of the Foucauldian concept of gaze (eg, the gaze of the physician, or the warden).
>My suggestion is that marijuana is no longer merely resistance or
>contestation of the dominant order. My impression is that marijuana has
>become the dominant order.
>In other words, will your children laugh at you for being part of the
>marijuana drug gaze?
I really don't think there is any evidence you have produced that points to drug discourse beginning to become dominant over the antidrug discourse. The antidrug discourses of the physician, the criminologist, etc seems to overwhealm all pro (illegal) drug discourses.
Now Francois Gagnon brought up an interesting point earlier. He pointed out that there is a great legal distribution network for drugs in medical drugs. To me it seems that this is a simple matter of medical division between "healthy" and "unhealthy" drugs. I would say that the war on drugs can be seen as one of the clearest extensions of biopower to date. Were not just talking government on the basis of population growth rates, etc. We are clearly dividing the legal from the illegal on the basis of the medical designation of drugs as healthy or unhealthy.
As Foucault (and Mark Kelly) pointed out, where there is power, there is always resistance. Lionel points out that drug use is increasing. There are two possible explanations to this:
1. Pro-drug discourse has begun to dominate anti-drug discourse in exercising control over the population.
2. Pro-drug discourse is resistance to anti-drug discourse as well as a variety of other controlling discourses in society.
The second explanation seems much more probable to me for several reasons. First, pro-drug discourse is by and large isolated from other powerful discourses. It does not find its basis in medicine, psychology, or other scientific disciplines. I would say it is safe to say scientific epistemology, now more than ever, is given a unique position as the most incontravertable way of producing truth. Second, pro-drug discourse is often accompanied by anti-rational, anti-scientific discourses. Mind expansion, shamanism, etc. Thus it seems obvious that anti-drug discourse is by and large a system of resistance to modern culture.
>Or maybe I have been living in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia too long.
>Australia is the best source of vintage 1960s Fender guitars, 1990s Harley
>Davidson motorcycles, used Masonic regalia, etc, etc, etc.
Now this is quite interesting. I have never been to Melbourne. While I believe that by and large anti-drug discourse is dominant, power is exercised at the level of the local and specific. It is possible that in some places pro-drug, anti-rational discourse prodominates. This however would mean that such discourses would not be subject to a Foucauldian analysis, as Foucault assumes very specific things about the power relations he criticises. If indeed something new has come to replace disciplinary power in Melbourne (though I find this rather unlikely) then an entirely new analysis of these power relations would have to occur.