Re: Gouvernementality / Il faut défendre la société

A. Regulating the Social

George Steinmetz has written a book "Regulating the Social: The Welfare
State and Local Politics
in Imperial Germany" (1993 Princeton Univ. Press). This is a solid
historical sociology to explain the emergence of the social, at which
welfare policies were targeted, in Imperial Germany by using Foucault along
with other theories of the state and/or governmentality.

B. Foucault on Habermas

In his essay "The Ethics of the Concern of the Self as a Practice of
Freedom" (in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, edited by Paul Rainbow),
Foucault said: "I imagine you are thinking a little about Habermas when you
say that. I am quite interested in his work, although I know he completely
disagrees with my views.... I do not think that a society can exist without
power relations, if by that one means the strategies by which individuals
try to direct and control the conduct of others. The problem, then, is not
to try to dissolve them in the utopia of completely transparent
communication but to acquire the rules of law, the management techniques,
and also the morality, the ethos, the practice of the self, that will allow
us to play these games of power with as little domination as possible"

Therefore, it is possible to say that Habermas and Foucault start from two
opposite poles, but try to reach the very similar goal. Butler, Laclau, and
Zizek in their "Contingency, Hegemony, Universality" (2000) in a sense
recasts the Habermas-Foucault debate over the relationship between democracy
and power.


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