Re: Foucault and Normativity

ransom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx states:

<Foucault doesn't think, does he, that revolutions are impossible, nor that
<political actions are necessarily marginal?

< he also
<acknowledges in somewhat stronger terms than in _History_ that it may be
<necessary for political action to become "strategic" at some point.

I am not claiming that political actions are necessarily marginal.
Action taken by those on the margin can be political and
strategic, in a way that can be acute precisely because of the
dynamics of the margin. See bell hooks, "From Margin to Center",
and "Teaching to Transgress", or Derrida, "Margins of Philosophy".
Strategic action, or strategizing, neither entails or eliminates actions
taken by those on t he margin.

With respect to Foucault and revolution, one interpretation could be that
we don't need to avoid global projects, but that we can't count on them

As for what follows, my first instinct is to simply ignore it. But then I
have also been frustrated by what can seem to be intentionally obtuse
writing particularly within certain strains of pomo thought.

kgw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx states:

>I'm very interested in the intellectual meta-language employed here. I'm
>not sure what exactly your are saying. As with much hyper-theoretical
>writing, here is so much abstraction that the reader (like the viewer in
>art) is left to do a lot of interacting and interpretation (open spaces?)

>with the object or text. I wonder if it would be tooo much of a
>challenge to ask you to discuss these various concepts here in grounded
>terms, concrete examples in the living color world of practices? As the
>lawyer sez in Gump, "tell it to me like I'm a six year old."
>Kathleen Williamson

I think that it is very important to remember that Foucault is writing
about things that are not easily expressed in language as we have it.
Sometimes this can result in the using words in unfamiliar ways,
employing phrases that seem empty or hyper theoretical. Heidegger and
Foucault are both concerned with issues of space. Through resisting
normative structures and institutions we can 'open spaces' where what
could not be said or thought before can be said or thought. If this is too
difficult to understand, I apologize. Foucault isn't meant for a six year
old, and I must say that I refuse to make what I do fit into the criteria set
up by a movie as banal as "Forrest Gump".

I can give concrete examples, which is an integral practice in philosophy,
but I cannot eliminate the necessity of interpretation. I consider
philosophy to be interactive, and refuse to eliminate that aspect.
I would ask that if someone doesn't understand something said on this
list that they request for an explanation without recourse to the American
tendency to dismiss intellectuals, or blaming the person who posted for
what is not understood.

Examples of resistance from the margin that has opened spaces for different
discourse and practices includes the women's movement, the civil rights
movement, roe v. wade, the Iranian revolution, reactions against apartheid
in South Africa, and recycling. We can see that resistance can occur at all
levels of society, and that the the results of such movements are not
without problems of their own. This complexity is what Foucault's
'methodology' is set up to address.

Joanna Crosby


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