Re: Foucault and Power (fwd)

Hi colleagues

After reading several msgs related to Foucault's understanding about Power, I
would like to jot down various comments coming to my mind. It is now late at
night (11 pm) and I do not have within my reach the monuments mostly needed to
produce a legitimated rhetorical effectivities.

Having said this, I do not want to claim that this is what Foucault meant
by the network of concepts articulated with the issue of power. But I do
want to clear a way forth for 'an' understanding. It is not that important in
this particular context to argue that this IS what Foucault has defined power.
What is more sensible to immerse into is 'languaging' moments that would

A more intensive initiation with Foucault's 'discourses', those which are
instantiated in epochal attributes or brought forth in 'an-archical'attitudes,
would draw the attention to the strategical empowerements practiced all along
the mode of lending forms to those distinctions made forwards. Accordingly,
power is one of those distinctions. A 'moment' calling for a sort of
discoursing, from within what the temporality could be provisional of historical
effectivities. Anchoring power does not mean in any sense exhausting the
limits constitutive of its manifestations. This is the uneasiness which our
intellect would like to dispel. What a person can sense from most of the msgs
is a continuation of a strong tilt towards making our textuality representable,
thus securing a position of mastery. To my understanding, this a position
that would block the empowerment for furthering the political. Reading Foucault
as a legislator ends up in seeing the work in essentialist way as Leventhal
elegantly hinted to. Foucault was practicing the differencing. In other words, he
'played' discontinuity when continuity was mostly needed, but no sooner this
was accomplished, continuity becomes the stake when discontinuity was mostly
yearned to. Such interplay is intensive because his discourse is always
echoing transgression. Experience is a stake of war and not languaging.

I do sense that those who argue about the necessity of an edge (Rorty, for
instance) to move away the power concept from being vacuous are actually
missing the point of the 'thresholding' and the 'shadings' involved in any
particularisation. Ambiguity, vagueness, perplexity, complexity are nomads
which are lodging and nourishing on those tendencies particularised and
represented. Attention(ality) comes from what the mediation has failed to lend
a form.

So, when Foucault's discourse shows that power is diffused, there is no use to
essentialise it. This is because Foucault's discourses calls for our
supplementarity to find a locus in them. However, Lodging in itself is a
gamble which would entice our nomad habitus to seek essentialisation instead of
keeping the sense of problematisation as the target of our wandering and

To me, reading Foucault's discourse as a mode of problematisation probably
would give a vent space for desisting perception(ing) and contextualising.
Both perception and contextualising, though they are dimensions of
embodiments, cannot keep away from being lured towards forgetfulness of the
Present effectivities..

just few thoughts with no references; sorry

yours in textuality

> I concur with the fatigue expressed about the standard arguments against
> Foucault's conception of power (it's everywhere, hence nowhere, or that it
> excludes any possibility of resistance). One of the more interesting
> critiques (a very friendly one, of course) comes from Judith Butler's last
> book, _Bodies that Matter_. After arguing that Foucault shows how power
> acts to materialize bodies on a grid of intelligibility, she criticizes
> Foucault for not taking into account what she refers to as a "radical zone
> of unintelligibility." In her own words:
> Insofar as Foucault traces the process of materialization as an investiture
> of discourse and power, he focuses on that dimension of power that is
> productive and formative. But we need to ask what constrains the domain of
> what is materializable, and whether there are _modalites_ of
> materialization -- as Aristotle suggests, and Althusser is quite to cite.
> To what extent is materialization governed by principles of intelligibility
> that requires and institute a domain of radical _unintellibibility_ that
> resists materialization altogether or that remains radically
> dematerialized? Does Foucault's effort to work the nations of discourse
> and materiality though one another fail to account for not only what is
> _excluded_ from the economies of discursive intelligibility that he
> describes, but what _has to be excluded_ for those economies to function as
> self-sustaining systems? (35)
> *****************************************************************************
> Harrison Brace
> Stanford, Department of Comparative Literature
> hbrace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> snmail:
> Department of Comparative Literature
> Encina Hall
> Stanford, CA 94305-2031
> Sanity is the lot of those who are most obtuse, for lucidity destroys one's
> equilibrium: it is unhealthy to honestly endure the labors of the mind
> which incessantly contradict what they have just established.
> Georges Bataille
> *****************************************************************************


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