From: Mark Kelly <mgekelly@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:17:41 -0800
as I said in my subsequent post, I think that Butler basically reads
the subject as per Althusser's interpellation and that this is not
terribly Foucauldian. I could go on, but I think the best thing is to
refer again to Catherine Mills's article which deals with this issue
I am intrigued by this idea that Butler's 'agency' is Foucault's
'resistance', more or less - I'll have to go away and reconsider
Butler in light of this.
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:44:13 +1030, amy patterson
> > in a nutshell, irene, Butler makes resistance subordinate to power and
> > then explores this apparent contradiction that our resistance is
> > always already determined with power. in fact, for Foucault,
> > resistance is precisely what is not determined by power, the excess.
> Forgive me for butting in, but i don't think that's a fair reading of
> Butler's reading of Foucault, far from being "incorrect", is arguably
> as good, if not better, than any other secondary source doing the
> rounds. Her summaries of Foucault on power and the human subject are
> concise without mutilating the theory. What she then does *from* that
> reading, the uses she makes of Foucauldian principles, do diverge in a
> number of fairly significant ways... but she's not "incorrect", she's
> just not Foucault, and nor should she be.
> For Butler, *agency* is "precisely what is not determined by power, the
> excess". Conceptually, Butler's "agency" and Foucault's "resistance"
> are roughly interchangeable -- it's mostly that the language and the
> emphasis are different, not the basic principles of their context and
> The first sentence (above -- "in a nutshell" etc) is not quite right:
> Butler makes *the human subject* always already subordinate to power,
> and then explores our attachment to this subjection, and, more
> difficultly, how agency and resistance are even possible within such a
> highly deterministic frame (a determinism that was already lurking in
> Foucault, and which she's just made more explicit).
> It should be borne in mind that when Butler talks about the subject's
> "subordination to power" she's not using an instrumentalist or even
> reified model of power, she primarily using a (slightly unorthodox)
> Foucauldian model -- for example, one form of power that the subject is
> "subordinated to" is the requirement that their utterances remain
> intelligible within their culture's dominant regimes of truth/truth
> games/whatever. That kind of always-already subordination to power is
> well within the bounds of Foucauldian orthodoxy.
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