Re: Foucault for Marx (was Re: Is French Philosopy a load of old

Brec Cooke replied to me:
>> What Foucault doesn't and cannot say (except implicitly) is how power
>> serves capital and how changes in capitalism cause changes in power. The
>> unsaid in Foucault points to the weakness of 'post-marxism' which is its
>> tendency to divorce discourse from the economic and to autonomize it. It is
>> up to marxists to trace power back to capital (understood as social
>> relations).
>Yoshie, I was much interested in and appreciated your comments on the
>relationship between foucault and marx. I was wondering if you might
>elaborate a bit on this last paragraph, particularly the "unsaid." Also,
>do you have any thoughts on whether a post-marxist like althusser resolves
>successfully, or otherwise, this discourse/power/capital issue. Bill
>Spanos has suggested, for example, that behind althusser's formulation of
>the subject of capitalism is lacan's formulation of the subject of
>post-freudian psychoanalysis, and that ahead of althusser is foucault's
>formulation of the subject of the disciplinary society.

Thanks for your interest. Regarding the unsaid and the unsayable in
Foucault and Foucauldian scholarship, one might turn a Foucauldian method
upon Foucault's writings themselves. In other words, think of Foucault's
work as a discursive regime, much like the regimes analyzed by Foucault
himself, with its own regularities, distinctive objects of inquiry,
principles of inclusion and exclusion, criteria to distinguish valid and
well-formed statements from invalid and inadmissible ones, and so on.

For instance, take Foucault's interest in locating discontinuities between
discursive regimes. Foucault is great at illuminating the nature of each
discursive regime he analyzes; however, his method does not allow him to
explain _why_ one discursive regime replaced another, at the time when it
did. Those who are familiar with marxist historiographies can easily see
that the discontinuities Foucault identifies coincide with the end of
feudalism, the beginning of industrial capitalism, etc., but Foucault's
post-marxism prevents him from analyzing discursive transformation in
relation to changes in the system of social relations, i.e. the emergence
of and changes in capitalism.

I don't think of Althusser as 'post-marxist.' I think that he was a
marxist, though he can be perhaps either criticized or praised (depending
on one's political perspective) for starting the problematic conducive to
the linguistic turn and post-marxism.

With regard to Lacan's, Althusser's, and Foucault's formulations of the
subject, I think that there is a problem that is common to all three
versions, which is their tendency to postulate the perfect conincidence of
subjectification and subjection, hence their avoidance of the question of
political agency and consciousness capable of radical social transformation
that will undo the unfreedom of freedom that so concerned them. In all
three writers, one can discern an ethical and aesthetic longing for the end
of Man, the dissolution of the subject as we have known him, which may be
characterized as a theoretical continuation of the thematics and stylistics
of literary modernism.

Yoshie Furuhashi

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