RE: Subjects [Caldon]

Hi Caldon

Thanks for your interesting thought.

I thought that a distinction must be made between two types of 'self
governance' in Foucault. First is 'self discipline' which is necessary for
the operation of the sort of discipline which Foucault describes in
Disciplin and Punish. This form of 'self government' is part of the overal
strategy of domination prevalent in cpaitalist societies. A totally
different concept of self governance is to be found more explicitly in
Foucault's later writings which is described by Foucault by terms such as
aesthetics of existenc, constitution of self, care of self etc. I think in
your post your were mainly concentrating on this second sense of 'self

[YOur account might be seen as conflating these two sense. I am not claiming
that you do conflate them but may the way you put them seem to suggest

I think Foucault's innovation is to combine both to give an account of
atuonomous self constitution that is compatable with our human finitude. The
argument has the following steps.

1) Self is constituted within web of relations. Such constitutions are
historically speicfic and can be entengled in overall domination strategy
but not necessarily.

2) The above sense of self provides the material, the given (though
historically given) that is the initial step for any exerciese of atuonomous
self constitution.

3) Thus Foucault rejects the notion that in pursuit of autonomy we start
from scratch or we have any option of bracketing the historically given

4) More then that he thinks that historically given and constitued self is
the conditon of the autonomous self in the sense that it is necessary
material out of which an aoutonomous self might be fashioned.

5) it is in the contex of the above that autonomous self constitution works.
The whole 'care of self' or aesthetic of existence presupposes 1-4.

This also means there is not 'later' Foucault. There is no rupture of break
as such.

best regards
p.s sorry for last post it was nto meant to be posted to the list.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Caldon Mercieca <caldon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Subjects
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 15:56:34 +0200

Hi Mariana,

I've been working for the last couple of years on writing as a technique of
the self, an idea which you find dealt with explicitly in the later foucault
(mostly only schematically in the hist. of sex. series, but much more
fleshed out in the lectures/interviews of the last four or five years of his
life - you can find an excellent collection of representative
lectures/interviews in the 'collected works of foucault' vol 1. - ethics).

the work on the self, in these later writings, illustrates the
self-referential aspect of governance, where governing comprises (a)
governing of others and (b) governing of the self by the self.

Although this idea of the governing of the self by the self might appear to
be quite a 'late' development in F's thought, you can already find traces of
it in 'madness and civilization' and 'the order of things', where foucault
explicitly identified literature (in particular the work of de Sade,
Holderlin, Artaud) as counter-discourse (i.e. as a possible locus of
retaining the freedom of governing oneself within the greater sphere of
governance). even in 'the birth of the clinic', literature is given a very
prominent role as an exercise of self-governance with which the subject
keeps a strategic distance from the medical gaze. this is even more fully
developed in 'the order of things', where there's a very stimulating
discussion of the relationship between the madman and the poet.

these are just a few ideas, simply to note that F's dealing with the
self-constituting subject (and therefore the exercise of freedom understood
as self-imposed discipline) is not restrited exclusively to his later
'ethical' writings, but is a concern which runs through the various
transformations of his work.

hope this helps.


Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 10:00:41 -0300

>Hi Ali,
>that's a good point you make. It's very difficult for me to think about
>freedom that way. That's why I was asking, not to read Foucault the way I
>think, but to understand what he really means.
> Now I'm going to rethink things in those terms. I've got new questions
>but maybe I'll find an answer as I develop these ideas.
> I need to read more Foucault, considering I've only read
>-Technologies of the Self: A Seminar With Michel Foucault;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, an Introduction;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 2, The Use of Pleasure;
>-The History of Sexuality: Volume 3, The Care of The Self;
>-A verdade e as formas juridicas.
> Knowing that and bearing in mind that I'm interested in the relation
>between the subjects and freedom, what should I read next? any
>Best regards,
>-----Mensaje original-----
>De: owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>[mailto:owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]En nombre de Ali Rizvi
>Enviado el: Martes, 08 de Julio de 2003 08:35 p.m.
>Para: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Asunto: Re: Subjects
>I think it is a problematic issue only if we take an old view of
>freedom to
>our heart. A view of freedom which counterpose freedom to limits.
>However, I
>believe, Foucuault is working with an entirely different and a new
>conception of freedom where limits are considered as the condition of
>freedom and not necessarily hinderence to it.[And I believe Foucault took
>this conception of freedom from Heidegger] Only cenrtain constellations of
>limits produce domination not limits per se. That is why analysis must be
>concrete and historically specific.
>About books I am not sure but Foucault's own books are a starting
>point. May
>be if you have not read Foucualt before start with Foucault Reader.
>Best luck.
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: Mariana Intagliata <intagliata@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Subjects
>Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 09:04:18 -0300
>Any thoughts on how to reconcile the subject that's a product of the
>technologies of power with the self creating subject of the technologies
>the self? any books that you can recommend on the matter? is it a
>problematic issue or not?
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