foucault and political marginalism

Kristin Switala writes:

Does this mean that de-centered political actions are necessarily
marginal, in the Foucauldian-Derridean sense of the term? Is this why
revolution (in the grand sense) is impossible? Is this also Lyotard's
idea of "glissement" and Joanna Crosby's idea of "opening up spaces" in
which to operate?

[end quotation from Switala]

But--and if this misses the point of the post let me apologize ahead of time--
Foucault doesn't think, does he, that revolutions are impossible, nor that
political actions are necessarily marginal? In _The History of Sexuality_,
Vol. 1 he admits that revolutions may very well occur. See p. 96 of the
English translation of that work. In "What Is Enlightenment?" he also
acknowledges in somewhat stronger terms than in _History_ that it may be
necessary for political action to become "strategic" at some point.

And yet it is true: Foucault has spoken of the end of the Revolution. See
"The Art of Telling the Truth" in _Politics, Philosophy, Culture_, p. 95; in
the same book, "The Power of Sex," pp. 120-122; "Introduction" to
Canguilhem's _The Normal and the Pathological_, p. 12.

Perhaps what he means is that the Revolution as a transcendent historical
event has passed us by. We might still have revolutions, such as the Iranian
Revolution of 1979 (there's that little article "On Revolution" that reflects
on this possibility), but we should avoid global projects of human
transformation ("What Is Enlightenment?" discusses this) like the plague.

== John ==



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