RE: Il faut defendre Foucault


I don't know if this will go to the list, I have tried to send something for a
couple of days, but it has not been received, and it's not really worth
sending anymore (if it ever was). Of course Foucault believes in force
relations, but force presupposes resistence, and resistence is not a mere
opposition or inverse of force, but a consequence of the discontinuities in
which forces operate in the first place (all of this is said in the History of
Sexuality, Vol. 1, as I'm sure you know). This does not mean that there is no
such thing as domination, enslavement, etc., but as Foucault says, these (1)
presuppose power relations which are not unilateral in their action; and (2)
domination does not operate at the level of constitution of identity --
identity is constituted by strife-ridden power relations, domination occurs at
the level of the interaction of already defined identities (although these
definitions are always already unstable).

So, for example, if a policeman with a side-handle baton beats the hell out of
someone, that is certainly a unilateral exercise of power. But this
presupposes a social context in which the police officer is constituted as an
officer of the law, the person he beats, perhaps as a (second class) citizen,
and this context is one of power relations riddled with sites of strife,
resistence and reversal.

Hope that makes sense. My point is that to suggest that for Foucault
something like nationalism could be invented in the (hermetically sealed?)
west and then forced unilaterally on the (hermetically sealed) rest of the
world is a joke.

Gotta run.




I am unable to understand why the idea of unilitarel imposition of anything is
so un Foucauldian? would you pls clarify? Are you implying that Foucault does
not believe in force relations? (your saying that 'it is inconsistent with his
idea of power relations' seems to imply that). It is true that according to
Foucault power relations imply certain level of freedom relation as well but I
think that should not be confused with the level of domiantion in any society
which is determined by sum total of all relations existing at a time and their
internal dynamics and overal balance.



Actually, it is rather un-Foucauldian. Foucault would never accept the idea
that nationalism was somehow unilaterally imposed by "the West" on "everyone
else." It is inconsistent with his idea of power relations.
Your casual use of 'us' is also un-Foucauldian.

Dr. Nathan Widder
Lecturer in Political Theory
University of Exeter
Department of Politics
Amory Building
Rennes Drive
Exeter EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1392 263 183
Fax: +44 (0)1392 263 305

Partial thread listing: