RE: Il faut defendre Foucault


Thanks for your response. It is all very sensible and very intelligible of

But there are few points I would like to add.

I think you are still not sufficiently differentiating between ?force? and
?power? in Foucault. Again much of his study is not regarding power per se,
(he denies developing any theory of power) he is mainly interested in modern
form of power which he term as bio/disciplinary power, power of
subjectivisation etc.

In this context your following statement seems to me problematic
?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)?.

Your statement is complex and I do not intend to take it lightly but for
understanding sake let me consider few possible options. By saying that
?domination does not operate at the level of constitution of identity? are
you implying that at the level of the formation of identity asymmetric
relations do not exist? Do not you think that Foucault differentiates
between the ways of subjectivisation, which are libratory and the ways of
subjectivisation, which are subjecting/subjugating?

In the context of your above comments what you think of the following
comments in Discipline and punish?:

?. . .[the modern ?soul?] is produced permanently around, on, within the
body by functioning of a power that is exercised on those punished- and, in
a more general way, on those one supervises, trains and corrects, over
madmen, children at home and school, the colonized, over those who are stuck
at a machine and supervised for the rest of life. This is the historical
reality of this soul . . . On this reality reference, various concepts have
been constructed and domains of analysis carved out: psyche, subjectivity,
personality, consciousness, etc . . . The man described for us, whom we are
invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more
profound than himself?.

Of course Foucault has emphasized again and again that modern forms of
discipline are conditioned upon the possibility of self discipline but this
does not mean that we deny that the self which is surrendering itself
?voluntary? to certain procedures and ideals is not itself a product and
effect of power regime.

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.

I have intentionally kept aloof from this debate about the west and the rest
because so much sensibilities are involved. Having said that I will concur
with the point you make above. But this does not prove for me that
imperialism did not exist or that after the end of colonial period neo
imperialism has ceased to exist (I am not implying that you are saying
this). France might have left Algeria in 1968 but it still activity thwart
establishment of anti imperialist regime that. Many people would deny that,
but I think that would be ultimately untenable, at least for us who see this
intervention on the daily basis. Let me finish this with a quote from
Foucault which might shed some further light on issues being discussed here?

?I do not mean to say that liberation or such and such a form of liberation
does not exist. When a colonial people tries to free itself of its
colonizer, that is truly an act of liberation, in the strict sense of the
word. But we also know that . . . this act of liberation is not sufficient
to establish the practice of liberty that later on will be necessary for
this people, this society and this individual to decide upon receivable and
acceptable forms of their existence or political society?

Negative liberty is not sufficient and positive practice of liberty on the
perpetual basis is necessary because we live under the sway of an order
which never ceases producing and reproducing its effect on, within and
around us. Hence active resistance is necessary at each and every moment.
That at least seems to me to be the crux of Foucault message.


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