Sunday, June 08, 2008

Foucault & resistance

"Foucault denied two crucial commonplaces of political thought: one, that there was a singular locus of power that could be contested and countered by those who were subject to specific rules of power, and two, that there were specific singular principles that organize such resistance. In his view, acts of resistance generally were not singular instances of binary oppositions or antinomies, but rather were multiple, mobile and transitory."

"Thus, for Foucault, 'when one defines the exercise of power as a mode of action upon the actions of others' (i.e. as government in the broadest sense) then one must of necessity include resistance as an exercise of freedom (Foucault, 1982: 790; 000d: 292). Thus . . . power is exercised only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free. By this we mean individuals or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments, may be realized.

. . . [A]t the very heart of the power relationship, and constantly rovoking it, are the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom. (Foucault, 1982: 790)"

"While power relations are determined within the diagram, understood as a non-unifying immanent cause, resistance arises from the fold in the outside of thought. Here the resonance with Spinoza is too strong to ignore. In rejecting transcendental concepts of reason, sovereign power and transitive causality in favour of constitutive power and immanent causality Spinoza foreshadowed a mode of political engagement that wasbrought to fruition by Deleuze and Foucault."



James Juniper and Jim Jose, "Foucault and Spinoza: philosophies of immanence and the decentred political subject", History of the Human Sciences 2008, 21, 1.

Foucauldian Reflections


Parke Burgess said...

This is good stuff!
BTW, your book looks interesting. I wish I had read it before I wrote mine...

Per Herngren said...

And thanks for sharing your thoughts!! See specially Chapter 9