re: Governmentality/State Theory

Examhell@xxxxxxx wrote:
> Yet, why crucial? If we agree with Gordon's comments in the opening
>chapter of THE FOUCAULT EFFECT (cf. pp. 3-4), we can address this importance
>by way of the (Neo-) Marxist critique of Foucault's attention to microphysics
>of power in DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH. How can we address government in terms of
>a microphysics of power? The Neo-Marxist asks, "How can we address the
>relation between society and the state or the sovereign without looking at the
>body of government in relation to the body politic?"

Focusing on the opposition between 'society and the state' as the central
antagonism is a liberal framework, not a marxist's.

> Gordon explains (and Foucault explicitly agrees in "Politics and the
>Study of Discourse") that the microphysical method deployed in DISCIPLINCE AND
>PUNISH need not be changed to address the macro question of the relation
>between society and the state. Yet, in addressing the macro question with
>micro method, Foucault seems to be moving along the lines of a distancing from
>the reduction of the art of governing to the exercise of a sovereign power to
>govern (to hold territory). In doing so, however, the essay in no way turns
>away from the analysis of the state. Yet, rather than a critique of the state
>are we reading a critique of the state-form?

Without modification, Foucault's microphysics of power can't explain well
how + why power, starting from 'its infinitesimal mechanism,' ascends into
'ever more general mechanisms and...forms of global domination'
(_Power/Knowledge_ 98-99). Also, paradoxically, the microphysical method
seems to lead Foucault toward a state-centered view of power, perhaps
because his method doesn't allow him to discuss the enduring agents that
can hold, accumulate, and exercise power within society. Foucault's
critique of liberalism ends up reproducing liberalism's own investment in
the state-versus-'civil society' opposition.

Yoshie Furuhashi

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