Re: Performative contradiction.

Re: Philip Goldstein's remarks on Althusser/F:
I agree entirely w/ you insofar as the critique of historicism is con-
cerned. I also think that, yes, F shares his teacher's concern with how
the ideological apparatus reproduces itself. And yet, because the apparatus
is always a State apparatus (for Althusser) F commits here the parricide --
in my opinion, this is indeed the main break w/ the PCF and neo-Marxists --
and refuses to identify power with a juridical, superstructural mechanism
of conservation and self-reproduction of power relations. For F what has been
understood as the reproduction of power is better analyzed as an interplay of
different, heterogenous technologies of power. As he says in "Les mailles du
pouvoir" (_Magazine litteraire_ sept 94/ forthcoming this month in vol. 4 of
_Dits et Ecrits 1954-1988_, chez Gallimard), "to privilege the State apparatus,
its function of conservation, and juridical superstructure comes down to Rous-
seauizing Marx, reinscribing him in the bourgeois, juridical theory of power."
(p. 65) It is very interesting to remark that this short essay was a lecture
F delivered in Brazil in 1976, at the zenith of the military dictatorship, and
that he based his talk on the 2nd Book of _Das Kapital_ precisely to undermine
the juridical theory of power and show that, even in Marx, the State unity is
secondary vis-a-vis the regional, local spheres of power relations--including
the army itself! So F explicitly opposes his "technological" approach to the
"juridical" model of Grotius, Pufendorf, and Rousseau. I think one of the
greatest merits of F's conception of power is that it breaks away from the
rather paternalistic theories of revolution that seek to conscientize (thru
liberationist propaganda or universal intellectuals!) the excluded and the
oppressed --when in fact there are many other devices and mechanisms of
subversion from below that defy so-called powers that be...
Nythamar de Oliveira, ndeolive@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Dept of Philosophy, SUNY @ Stony Brook
Partial thread listing: