Re: Normalization and Control

On Thu, 15 Sep 1994, Hogan M E wrote:

> I am not sure what Rose&Miller mean by 'regulated freedon' as opposed to
> the population being subjected to the power of the ruling body. This
> strikes me as semanitcs and of no real value.
Sorry to be blunt about this, but to go by the argument that follows, it
really doesn't seem as if Foucault need have bothered writing all those
books and giving all those interviews. The basic points, surely, are
that (1) the problem of power can no longer, if it ever could, be posed
in terms of the state (the ruling body etc) - the state is merely one
form of codifying and
organizing a set of relations for the authoritative conduct of conduce that
traverse modern experience at a molecular level; (2) freedom is not the
antithesis of power but what we today take to be freedom - autonomy, the
valorisation of subjectivity, responsibility for ones actions and so
forth - is a relation to the self that is the object and outcome of a
whole variety of strategies, tactics and forms of judgment that have been
born over the last two hundred years; (3) contemporary practices and
techniques for the
government of others - and for our own government of ourselves - cannot
be understood in term of a zero sum game in which what is gained by one
side is lost by the other.

As for mere semantics, if language is not central to the ways in which we
are able to understand and act upon ourselves and the practices in which
we are located, then critical thought is a pointless exercise. For
myself, I live in hope that it is not.

Nikolas Rose

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