Re: governmentality and critique - more details


Your analysis certainly looks good; you have so much there
that I won't respond to all of it singularly, but I will
offer a 'sweeping' challenge. Should we consider F to be a
strange sort of technological determinist, to borrow a
phrase from analytical MArxism - except that the
technologies he deals with are human, social, and political,
rather than the absurd American cocneption of technologies
as being somehow extrinsic to the body? he does claim, fo
instance, in D&P, that the change inpower realtions from the
ancien regime to the modern form resulted from a "technical
mutation." The later works are consistent in their
conceptions of truth, power, and subjectivity insofar as F
is cocnerned with "technologies of the self". His
conception of governmentality is a technological one;
"modern" forms of governance, and modern rationaltities of
power and governance place more ancient technologies of hte
self into new strategies, and realtions, no doubt, but the
techniques of control used in modern forms of governance -
ascesis, the confessional, pastoral governance, etc. carry
certain techniques of individualizing which were developed
in earlier periods.
This reading, I think, implies a certain continuity in F's
cocneption of truth, power, and subjectivity - at least from
teh work of the early seventies to that of the early
eighties, insofar as F centers his analysis of power
relations on these human, social, and political
technologies. what is different about hte History of
Sexuality v.2&3, and many of his interviews from the early
eighties, is that his genealogeis extend further back in
time; this only makes sense, because the specific
technologies he is tracing had clear applications in ancient
western culture, and one feature of "modern" technologies is
theie colonizing ability; that ism theri ability to draw
from a number of fields, including history.
I agree that he is after a cocneption of power whcih is more
thatn repressive, btu one which is "prodcutive"; but for
something to be prodcutive, it can only be so if a certain
field of applications exist; the techniques of the self find
their applications in a number of modern power mechanisms,
discourses, truth games, etc. These later genealogies, so
far as i can tell, arte not qualitatively different from
the earlier ones, they are just a bit more comprehensive in
their search fro the various rationalities through which
certain techniques were applied across social fields -
lending some insight into the various modern rationalities
which have found a use for these technologies.
There's oen problem you raise which I am also confused
about, and htat has to do with whether F does, after all,
fall back on an enlightenment model of subjectivity and
reason at times, and whether he does hold to a "repressive"
notion of power after all. Well, how about this "solution"
- if he does avoid what he clearly intends to be avoiding,
it is because he is atechnological determinist. There is
one quasi-metaphysical ghost to determine, even on this
model - and that would be hte "nature" of this social
"substance" whcih enables certain technolgies to find a
field of applications across history - even if thsoe
applciations, the rationalities, etc, behind them are
different, there is still a medium through which and in
which they exist - albeit a socail medium. Can this be
understood descriptively?
I'd like to hear what your response the TD is, and where you
account for the human technologies in your analysis.

--Joe Cronin


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