RE: Foucauldian Activism


There is no reason to approach this list with trepidation or to fear
expressing yourself through discourse. Your thoughts are welcome here
(regardless of how long they may be). However, I must request that you
not post messages as long as or near the length of your last one, as posts
of such a length tend to cause our mail server to malfunction. If you can,
try to keep your posts under 250 lines. Now to your last post.

I think you have demonstrated a very admirable zeal in meeting the task
you have set for yourself, and I wish you the best of luck in completing
the task. Please do not interpret any disagreement I may have with you
as a complete dismissal of your program. When I mentioned my experiences
with activism, they were just that, my experiences. You may have had
other experiences that brought you happiness or motivation. Such is life.

Now whether Foucault can be inscribed within your program, while remaining
within a proximity of interpretation that does Foucault "justice," I don't
know; especially given your last post, where you outlined your approach more
definitively. A "melting of hearts" sounds very nice and very romantic, and
this comes as no surprise given your references to Hegel. There is also
your mention of Derrida, who to this day is still trying figure Foucault out.

If you want to ground a system on "justice" that is fine too. And if you
want to take a deconstructive approach to the concept, okay,
but my point of disagreement, and I think possibly Foucault's too, is this
movement into abstraction where concepts tend to operate quite
whimsically. Descartes was able to accomplish quite a bit with the
_cogito_, but when it came time to give it a material location, he ran into
trouble. It seems that starting with justice as a principle and working from
there is destined to convolute the thinker into a disorienting state. Such a
given principle is actually functioning through material manifestations and
networks, but to be understood, after its dogmatic acceptance, it can
only be considered apart from those networks. This sort of dislocation
disguises the principle in relations that tend to make its material
connections difficult to discern.

And this is partly why I am content to wholly concentrate on the "the
care of the self." What are the material movements in practice
that construct and destroy the self? How are such movements formulated?
What are their operative functions and relations? In this way I am able to
keep my focus and gaze within a material nexus that constitutes me.
After such an understanding is achieved, then I will be ready to move into a
more abstract domain, a domain beyond selves and institutions.

Yours in discourse,

Steven Meinking
The University Of Utah

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