Re: [Foucault-L] pastoral power


In your clarification, I think you make sufficiently clear your caution with
respect to linear, evolutionary, or dare one say it, deterministic,
narratives -- no need to fear being tarred by Fouad's "analytical" list of
academic slurs.

In short, I think you are correct that pastoral power belongs in the
genealogy of modern governmentality, however much you'll have to hedge
'belongs' in order to hew to the particular kinds of historical causality
allowed or forbidden by genealogy. (For an interesting discussion of how STP
might exhibit a rethinking, with respect to Discipline and Punish, of such
causality or narrativity, see Stephen Collier's article, "Topologies of
Power" in Theory, Culture, and Society.)

I am wary, however when you talk of two distinct poles called the pastoral
and the political. Whatever the descendent of the pastoral is, it shouldn't
now be referred to under the same name, given hundreds of years of
displacement and recombination into entirely new assemblages. And the other
pole, by which I think you mean the biopolitics of population, shouldn't be
the sole owner of the name "the political" -- clearly what we are dealing
with on both poles are very much political technologies.

This worry about language aside, I do think one can speak of disciplinary
techniques and biopolitical techniques (that is, the apparatuses of
security) as being parallel. While there is a line, however indirect, that
can be drawn from pastoral power to the total disciplinary dream of the
Polizeistaat and therefrom to the contemporary, the inauguration of
liberalism and the development of techniques for managing the population as
a statistical aggregate were something new.

So, in answer to your question, I think the set of alternatives is false:
pastoral power is a precursor to some portion of the techniques of
contemporary governmentality (in agreement with your first option), but it
is not the only such (in agreement with your second).

But as to whether you can go on from the conclusion that pastoral power is a
precursor to ask whether the particular sort of selfhood that it inculcated
is still a useful rubric for analyzing the contemporary self... well, I find
this kind of doubtful, considering the intervening centuries. But this is
precisely what the History of Sexuality project is meant to answer, and you
need to look there to figure out how best to pose this question.

Best wishes,
Adam Leeds

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:12 PM, <goran.gaber@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hi,
> now that I have re-read the question, I admit that it is structured
> somewhat confusingly...
> I understand that the process, in foucauldian terms, cannot be understood
> as linear and/or deterministic; what I am wondering about is whether the key
> characteristics of the pastoral modality of power relations constitute
> somesort of a "pillar" (I apologize for the lack of a better term) on which
> historically subsequent and specifically political reflections on the "ratio
> gubernatioria" - partly of course - leaned on, transformed, transplanted,
> modified and incorporated into its own discourse and practices.
> This would in a way, this is my opinion, make the pastoral discourse and
> practices, sort of a "prerequisite" for the process of structuration of
> modern governmentality (it is this that I have unfortunately labelled as
> "evolution")
> or
> do these two modalities of power relations (pastoral and political) present
> distinctive and parallel spheres which - throught contingent interaction -
> now constitute the two (distinct yet connected) poles of the functioning of
> modern State forms of power relations...
> I would like grasp this in order to be able to pose the following question:
> are contemporary modalities of power relations deeply rooted in and
> conditioned by the pastoral model of government (option 1)?
> And with this question I am aiming at the following elements:
> - the constant search of the "inner truth" of the contemporary subject: "am
> I that name?" / "are you that name?"
> - the incessant balancing within the "economy of merits and faults"
> - the "life-long" guidance to which we are subjected
> etc.
> This paper is in its preparatory stages and so are the
> questions/reflections above - hopefully I have clarified more then I have
> complicated further..
> Thanks for your help and best regards, Goran
> _______________________________________________
> Foucault-L mailing list

Adam E. Leeds
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania, and
Visiting Researcher
Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR)
Москва: +7-985-929-33-49
US: 914.980.2970

Re: [Foucault-L] pastoral power, goran.gaber
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