Erik Lindberg writes, in part:

At any rate, Derrida mixes in some genealogy in his
deconstruction, and Foucault's project it geared, in the end,
toward reversing hierarchies, examining the margins, looking at
the way the outside defines the inside, and so on. While Derrida
uses the notion of repression incessantly, he also undermines it.
It is, he thinks, an term that he would like to do without, but
can't. Similarly, Foucault would like to do without the idea of
repression, but it is there in his writing (unlike Derrida, he
doesn't thematize its return in his own writing). Neither wants
to see power as "bad," but wavers. Both would like, as Derrida
says, to assert that "everything is strategic and adventurous,"
including their own texts. But both find that to write one needs
a target, and it turns out that in "post-modernity" the most
plausible target is still some "repressed" force. Except with
great difficulty (and even then?) force is implicated with

[end quotation from Lindberg]

Erik and all others,

I really do see what you're getting at, and I take your point,
but I would like to think of this point of yours in the following
way: It's not so much that Foucault (I cannot yet speak
authoritatively about Derrida, but then, neither can he) finds
that he needs a target, and that that target turns out to be some
"repressed" force. I think of the intellectual process this way:
In fact, being the kind of people we are, trapped by the myth
that--to simplify grossly--the existence of power, the exercise
of force, the installment of constraints, the effort to silence;
in a word, all these forms of "repression" can also be
immediately read as "injustice," "illegitimate," and so on. Being
those kind of people, when *we* read that some kind of power is
involved in the creation of a historical artifact (a class, a
dynasty, a particular power/knowledge regime) the *effect* of
that knowledge is that we are psychically distanced from that
cultural artifact. That's just a fact about us: the revelation of
the role of power in the constitution of things shakes us up and
gets us to question, "problematize" them, if you will.

And that effect--the effect of being distanced from cultural
forms we previously viewed as natural or simply unquestionable--
is exactly the effect that genealogy is after. But the irony is
that the very psychic feature that triggered the questioning
attitude genealogy is after is the belief genealogists are most
concerned to reject; namely, the belief that the existence of
power or force, its exercise in this or that illegitimate way,
leads of necessity to the existence of something we should
denounce: injustice.

In _Beyond Good and Evil_, Section 259 Nietzsche says something
along these lines:

Life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of
what is alien and weaker, suppression, hardness, imposition
of one's own forms, incorporation, and, at its mildest,
exploitation. If something lives, then it expresses itself
through will to power. Exploitation does not mean that some
society is corrupt, because this belongs to the essence of
what lives.

I bring in Nietzsche not because we are now all supposed to bow
to him, but just to illustrate the point mentioned above about
genealogists not being critics of *power.*

And so do you see what I am saying? It's not that Foucault had to
fall back on the old story about how awful power is, but that we
his readers simply assumed that was the kind of critique Foucault
was after! That's what social critics do!

In truth, genealogy has bigger fish to fry than the idea that power is
"behind" things.


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