governmentality and critique

I'd like to present a short summary of my thesis (which I hope to
finish shortly); maybe somebody is working in the some direction or
is interested by a similar aspect in the work of F. or just wants to
make any comments...
In order to cut it really short, I will only give a very brief
abstract of my work; I can do it in more detail by personal contact
by email or in this list, if somebody wants me to do it...

The starting point for me was the critique by Habermas, Fraser,
Taylor and many others that Foucaults critique is in some way
selfrefuting. I think that it is not right just to say that this
critique of F. is misleading or a 'false' interpretation etc. I take
it as some kind of discursive fact, because it seems to me to be
wrong to say that everybody is incapable to understand F. etc. In
short my question is: what in the work of F. makes appear this
problem, that everybody say that he is doing some kind of critique
but that at the same time he is unable to do it.
I think the central point is that F. is pointing at what he refers to
as a 'politics of truth', which does not accept certain universal
truth claims, but questions the way in which we use our truths and
the 'necessities' that go along with these truths. So F. is neither a
universalist nor a relativist, but instead he wants to question a
'game' which forces us to accept the rules, to be one thing or the
other. I thing that is what he terms 'problematisation': to produce a
questions where others always already do have answers, to make
something 'natural' a social artefact, which means bound to power
This brings me to the second aspect of my work (in fact the main
aspect). My thesis is that F. profoundly changed his conception of
power during the end of the seventies. He became aware that SP had
two important problems: a reductionist conception of subjectivity (
and as a consequence of resistence) and a reductionist conception of
the state. To my mind there is still the repression model behind SP
and even in part in HS 1, because he treats subjectivity foremost as a
'product' of power-knowledge and treats the state only as a
institutional-juridical structure.
To solve these problems F. introduces the notion of government (in
the 78/79 cours at the college de France) to treat simultaniously the
genealogy of the state (object of the cours) and the genealogy of the
subject (HS 2 and 3). F. give up the model of war to analyse power
and takes up government (as conduct). Government articulates the two
dimensions: the government of the others (one aspect is the
government of the state) and the government of the self.
In short I argue that government is a technology of power that allows
to conduct subject by their truth and that F. tries to outline a form
of critique that ones to question this will to truth, but in such a
way to play the game in order to subvert it (which means the rather
paradoxical point of view that there are many truths, paradoxical at
least from a universalist conception of truth)...
I don't know if this is clear (in fact I think it's not), but I don't
want to bother you with a long description in this mailing list
(unless somebody wants me to do it). In one sentence I would like to
show two things (which are nevertheless related): a major changement
in Fs conception of power (and not a return to subjectivity as some
think) and a clarification of his notion of critique as ethos against
What do you think about this?


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