Re: Re:Foucault and Agency

On Sat, Nov 11, 1995 3:51:37 PM at JON WILSON wrote:

As people have said, Foucault would not have asked a question such as
>"Who acts ?" but would be concerned with how certain actors are
>constituted 'historically'; how the multiplicitous power relations tend to

>coalesce and clot at certain nodes.

Yes but it is quite legitimate that we ask the question "who acts", given
that the "multiplicitous power relations [that] tend to coalesce and clot
at certain nodes" do not appear as such within within the limited horizons
of our social and symbolic universe. Agency is ultimately reducible to a
question of perspective - not of the agent him/herself, but of the
objectifier and interpretter of social actions. ultimately, if all
determinants, psychological, structural, and otherwise, are known, how can
there be agency? Isn't agency after all merely an analytical distinction
marking off those areas of human behavior whose determinations are beyond
the scope of our explanation? And given the necessary limits of our
capacity to explain causes of social behavior, agency is always a given.
(this may have very little to do with Foucault, but it has everything to do
with how and why to ask the age old question about human agency.)


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