Re: Fromm and Foucault

Erik Lindberg writes:

>One main (perhaps obvious) difference would be the way Fromm would
>suggest an enlightenment-based solution--"the truth shall set you free"
>type stuff. Right? Foucault would of course be suspicious of this and
>would offer other forms of resistance.
>After paging through Foucault's Two Lectures in _Power/Knowledge_ I think
>that the quotation from Fromm suggests that he and Foucault similarly see
>power not only as that which says "no." But I wonder if Fromm shares
>Foucault's notion that "Power must be analyzed as something which
>circulates, or rather as something which only functions in the form of a
>chain. It is never localised here or there, never in anybody's hands,
>never appropriated as a commodity or a piece of wealth. Pwer is employed
>and exercised through a net-like organization."
>What do your readings of Fromm suggest? Its true, isn't it, that
>Foucault's critique of the repressive hypothesis has Marcuse in mind?
>How far are Marcuse and Fromm from each other?

My scant and been-awhile readings of Fromm suggest that both elements of
neo-marxism and psycho-analysis in him would conflict with Foucault. I
stumbled across this quote in an introduction he wrote for another book.
However, I think what he's saying clearly summarizes much of Foucault's
critique in extremely succinct and clear english -- something which I've
not found always easy to do. Another point, as we have discussed on
previous posts, is that the late Foucault (ethical phase) comes very close
to idealizing "freedom," "choice," and even the "self." He certainly skirts
the repressive hypothesis, but also is less critical of the Enlightenment
in the essay "What is Enlightenment?"

Foucault's dilemma? He adopts Nietzschean self-overcoming, but doesn't have
a will-to-power to ground it. In the circulation of power, how can one
"take hold," that is, channel power, into personal empowerment? It seems
that Foucault's more modest hero, the specific intellectual, who is engaged
in day-to-day resistance is more easy to justify (within Foucauldian
critical limits), then his later work which borders on romanticizing both
Nietzsche and the Greeks.

Also thanks for your help on the other issue.

Best, Sam.


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