Re: Foucault and 'the starving millions'

Typifying Foucault as working only in the realm of historical "fictions" or
social "discourses" has been a tactic of his critics for decades. Foucault
doesn't argue that there is no "truth" or "reality", but rather questions how
what we call truth is attached and enfolded into the types of political
technologies, regimes of expertise and historical narratives that dominate
that loose set of conditions we call "modernity". In Rwanda there has been
a human disaster beyond description. But look how it is described
nevertheless, look how we in the West learn about it, know it, construe
African "capacities" through it, add it to our cultural theories and
explanations about ethnicity, The Third World, population, etc. Can we
really say we see the reality of Rwanda, even while we feel, sympathize,
experience, look for reasons, etc.? When Foucault says that all he has
ever written is "fictions", he means I think that he has used the
genealogical events of a particular flow in the development of our present
to open up a set of problems; so the "birth" of the prison, or the clinic
is about their histories, but about how their emergence signals new
problems in the management of human difficulties about discipline and

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