Re: [Foucault-L] A recent question that I asked of my lecturer

Hi Scott,

Without necessarily disagreeing with the other replies you have gotten to your question, I think the issue you raise is a legitimate problem in Foucault's work that has been the subject of debate ever since. It is a difficult problem to discuss since Foucault explicitly rejected the idea that academic or philosophical work should necessarily point the way forward for political resistance.

Giorgio Agamben makes a similar critique to the one you raise in his book Homo Sacer: sovereign power and bare life. he addresses a famous passage where Foucault contemplates "a new economy of bodies and pleasures". Agamben responds:"The 'body' is always already a biopolitical body and bare life, and nothing in it or in the economy of its pleasure seems to allow us to find a solid ground on which to oppose the demands of sovereign power."

You might also be interested to look at Hardt and Negri's Empire, which takes up Foucault's later work on biopower from more of a Marxist standpoint.


Scott Nicholas wrote:
Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering if anyone would care to give me their perspective on this question that I recently and I think legimately posed?:

"the question that I meant to follow up with you is: if social practices, power relations and technologies of the self in creating docile bodies are constitutive of the contemporary individual according to Foucault (this is what I believe him to be saying?) then how can the individual decide to or take the initiative to resist said relations, practices and technologies? Of course Foucault might respond by saying well we can invariably reconstitute ourselves by actively changing or acting on our environment but that seems to presuppose an active body; a knowing self certain individual(not the Cartesian variety of course); who has the wherewithall to understand their predicament accurately; and, moreover, who has the means to influence said practices, relations and technologies. This seems to imply that we are more than just docile bodies.I recall you saying in the lecture that Foucault did not account sufficiently for the psychological effects of power but this may have prove!
d self defeating in terms of his efforts to remove the subject from politicaly motivated discourses."
Is my construal accurate?
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[Foucault-L] A recent question that I asked of my lecturer, Scott Nicholas
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