Re: foucault and agency [Francois Gagnon]

I find both your interventions interesting. I just want to remind you that I
said that 'sometimes', reading Foucault, someone can get the impression that it
doesn't matter who act. This was deliberate, in the sense that sometimes it
does seem important: Foucault did not work on 'anybody's' panopticon, nor did
he say that is object of analysis (projects to set up anonymous machineries of
power in Surveiller et Punir for example) was ever realized in full. I was
just pointing to something I am not sure how to deal with. I was not trying to
figure our what 'really is' the importance of a person or an individual in an
event: just directing the attention to the difficult question of what status
the subject has in Foucault's analytic of power or power/knowledge relations.

If I can make another comment on another - but related - level: the subjective
- in Foucault's perspective - should not be reduced to the individual. I think
that he would not disagree if one said that he was trying to see (amongst other
things) under what conditions of possibility an individual could be seen to
appear in the realm of thought.

P.S. Somebody asked a while back what a liberal interpretation of Foucault
would be - and I don't think anybody answered! Well, to put it bluntly, it
would be confusing the object with the thesis. Foucault's thesis was not that
we live in a liberal world - conform to liberal philosophy's ideal world that
is. Rather, it was is object of analysis. Sorry, I've got no more time and
have to cut it short!

Selon ronald tuch <rontee707@xxxxxxxxxx>:

> That is a very interesting point, that the individual's particular personal
> contribution to a larger social/historical event may not be meaningful, if
> that is the right word. But the use of email itself is important is it not.
> Using email and thus validating it as an important way to communicate is
> important. How does email itself contribute
> to the larger historical event. How did telephones contribute to the two
> world wars. Individual phone calls made a million times by millions of
> people did not matter--but did not the use of the phone matter? Could these
> wars have been fought without phones and the wireless? Had millions of
> people NOT used emails and rejected the internet and thus 'turned it off,"
> as an investment for companies and a personal investment in time and money
> by individuals--had emailing not been guaranteed such a prominent position
> in history-technology, then the role played by emailing in the revolution
> may have been minimalized. What about emails now being intercepted to catch
> terrorists? Are they not using emails because emailing has been set up as a
> network of communication throughout the world? The individual acts may not
> be important but the instrumentality of the act is important--the validation
> and the sustenance of the instruments are what make the individual acts
> profound in a larger context.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ali Rizvi" <ali_m_rizvi@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 2:33 AM
> Subject: Re: foucault and agency [Franois Gagnon]
> >
> > I think it should be carefully determined on what level it is appropriate
> to
> > say, according to Foucault, "it does not matter who act". Take for example
> > four different levels (roughly) on which this claim can be analysed.
> >
> > I am writing this email. Of course it does matter that I am writing it and
> > not you if considering the question of who wrote this email.
> >
> > I am writing this email. Now to what extent this writing of email matters
> > considering my self-constitution. It does matter but to a lesser extent
> and
> > there are and may be various other factors which are relevant and may be
> > more important.
> >
> > I am writing this email. Consider this with reference to a possibility of
> > revolution in near future in say (Foucauldian studies). Well may be it has
> > some (fractional) relevance but it hardly matters that (who) wrote this
> > mail. It would be more relevant to consider the situation of who wrote
> > the email in this context.
> >
> > I am writing this email. Consider this with reference to a possibility of
> > revolution on system wide level. Well it is almost irrelevant and it
> almost
> > does not matter at all (who) wrote email in this context.
> >
> > Foucault's purpose was not to deny agent or the efficacy of his actions
> but
> > to show its limitations. Even when we do act, or say something, the moment
> > we utter something or act, the action and words take there own life and in
> > turn determine us and others. It was the force of this anonymity in
> history
> > that Foucault tried to emphasise in his formulations in the context of
> > Enlightenment claims about powers and limitless capabilities of man.
> >
> > best
> > ali
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > [That is not what one would call a denial of agency. Of the subject,
> > probably - and it is debatable. I would say though that this does not
> > exlude
> > the impression, reading Foucault, that "it doesn't matter who act" and
> > therefore that his analysis are affect-less, focusing rather on impersonal
> > rationalities of government that somewhat lack their 'human'
> incorporation.]
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Selon suannschafer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx:
> >
> > > >Foucault's critics as a routine confuse his rejection of subject
> > > >with the rejection of agency. It is not the same thing to dney
> > > >agency and subject. One can believe in agency without believing in
> > > >the notion of subject as understood in Cartesian and Enlightenment
> > > >tradtion.
> > >
> > > That's interesting. Can you elaborate? Thanks in advance!
> > >
> >
> >
> > Franois Gagnon
> > tudiant au Doctorat
> > Dpartement de Communication
> > Universit de Montral
> > (514)343-6111 poste 1464
> >
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Protect your PC - get VirusScan Online
> >
> >

François Gagnon
Étudiant au Doctorat
Département de Communication
Université de Montréal
(514)343-6111 poste 1464

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