power relations

It seems to me that 'power' as it has been discussed so far is still
assumed to be a property that some have and others don't. Check the
interview in "THe Final Foucault" called "The Ethic of the care for the
self as a practice of freedom" and Jana Sawicki's work. What is stated
clearly in these works is that power only occurs when one desires or
attempts to direct the behavior of another. Of course, this
encompasses most of our interactions. However, it also requires us to
examine the individual relationship. The parent/child relation, the
pedagogical relation, the teacher/student relation are all relations
of power. They can be negative, i.e., repressive, oppresive, or
limiting in unacceptable ways, and they can be positive, i.e., creative
productive, etc. In fact, they can be both. In D&P, Foucault talks
about how forms of dicipline made institutions like the hopital able to
provide better care at less risk of infection, and yet also produced
a problematic kind of knowing that has lead to increasingly narrow
possibilities for subjectification. The results of negotiating power
relations can be both positive and negative, and there is no safe way
no secure or ga
(sorry) guaranteed way in which to manage the relations so that their
results will simply be positive. Power, like freedom is something that
manifests itself in practices; it neither metaphisical or ontological.
It is a function of human interaction. Foucault also states that even
in situations where the relation is extremely one sided, or unbalanced,
the other always has the possibility of resisting and changing the
shape of the power relations. Such relations remain fluid, they are
not fixed or unchanging. Part of the political work implied is that
those in unbalanced power relations need ways to come to know that they
can resist, that they can can change the relation. Such change never
comes without cost, and this is the element of danger involved, but again
danger is something that changes its value, is transvalued, from something
that is always pejorative, to something that needs to be evaluated on
a case by case basis.

Joanna Crosby
(sorry if the above is rather rough)


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