Foucault’s The Power/Knowledge Subjugation Of Discourse

Power And Knowledge, In Foucault’s Structuralism, Directly Imply One Another

We come to the crux of Foucault’ analysis of the episteme when we ask the
question, “Who does discourse serve? Epistemes, for Foucault, are characterized
by power/knowledge relationships that demand that if the individual wants more
out of life than pain and suffering then he or she must submit to the powers
that be. It is Foucault’s thesis that “this subjugation occurs, without the
subject’s knowledge, in the society wide procedures which pin identities to
individuals.” [Mark Cousins, Athar Hussain, Michel Foucault, 1984, p. 254]

In the historical record of the exclusion practices put on the insane,
criminals, and sexual deviants, we discover the groundwork that would evolve
into, not only the compartmentalization of clinics and prisons, but also the
strategic and tactical maneuvers that define today’s modern army. Blanchot
expands upon this connection, which was first pointed out by Foucault, in his
analysis of the plague (Black Death) of 1348:

It was, says Blanchot, “…through a strict parceling out of the contaminated space, through the invention of a technology for imposing order that would affect the administration of cities, and through the meticulous inquests which, once the plague had disappeared, would serve to prevent vagrancy (the right to come and go enjoyed by `men of little means’) and even to forbid the right to disappear, which is still denied us today, in one form or another,” that ended up in the laws, techniques, and procedures that redirect our attention away from power/knowledge relationships per se, the same power/knowledge relationships that subjugate one discourse over against another. [Michel Foucault, Maurice Blanchot, Foucault/Blanchot, 1987,
p.84]

In fact, Foucault implores us to recognize power/knowledge relationships
for what they really are: “…power produces knowledge (and not simply by
encouraging it because it serves power or by applying it because it is useful);
that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power
relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any
knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power
relations.” [Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, The Birth Of The Prison,
1979, p. 27]

Advertisements

About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s