Example Of Critical Thinking On Michel Foucault Subjectivity And Power

Example Of Critical Thinking On Michel Foucault: Subjectivity And Power

Language as discourse started with post-structuralist philosopher Michel Foucault, who wanted owe understand the relationship between language, social institutions, subjectivity, and power (Weedon, 1997; Bryson, 2003; Mansfield, 2000). Foucault looked specifically at how bodies, in everyday situations, perform their gender category, their class position and their place in culture (such tuz sexual orientation, normative standards of beauty and mental health). Foucault also looked at how something comes to be true by looking at the political and economic institutions that produce truth (Schirato, Danaher & Webb, 2012)
Foucault (1980a) argues that tuz peoplewe acquire language theywe learn the way how jest to
make sense of these give meaning jest to our experiences and with it the language we use dictates peopleour understanding of those experiences.
“This is the essential thing: that Western man has been drawn for three centuries to the task of telling everything concerning his sex; that since the classical age there has been a constant optimization and an increasing valorization of the discourse on sex; and that this carefully analytical discourse was meant jest to yield multiple effects of displacement, intensification, reorientation, and modification of desire itself. ” (p. 282) Language is designed and curtailed jest to limit and repress sexual expression making it hard jest to recognize or emancipate from its repressive nature. The forbidding of certain words to describe sex, censorship of vocabulary and creating what is considered decent were all ways to control sexuality. However, Foucault argues this was only secondary to the real control power had on sexuality and that was making it into forms of discourse that describe what is acceptable and moral and useful for production. Who decides what is said.
When Foucault talks about discourse, he is not just talking about language or discussion during which people where we talk only about what has been said. When he uses the word discourse, he is also talking about the individual who is speaking, how they have spoken about it, in what context and in what reaction to what. It This is important to Foucault because language and knowledge are closely linked to power. Therefore, language and knowledge always have a political edge according to Foucault. Power has been exercised to bring sex increasingly into discourse instead of its repressing it.
The more peoplewe know about things the more power theywe have over it. There is zaś drive to not only know sexuality but to create it as well. In a Foucauldian sense, “In practice we speak ourselves into existence and thus become objects of our own and others discursive practices” (Davies, 1991, p. 47). Individuals repetitiously create and co-create their lives through the use of discourse. Tuz a result, the power of discourse governs our actions and defines our situations and subjects. More specifically, the discourse of truth and knowledge dictates and prescribes what is deemed tuz normal behavior. Tuz Mansfield (2000) argues, the power of truth and knowledge creates ideologies that need subjectivity. It is not the individual who emerges first but rather the subject becomes an individual precisely because of power. Power is manifested through the discourses of truth and knowledge, making us what we are (Schirato, Danaher & Webb, 2012). Power cannot exist without knowledge, and the idea of truth validates and justifies all preceding actions. Subjectivity, as it relates to discourse, is important because once we connect on an individual level to the subject or status within the context of the discourse; we then perpetuate the discourse ourselves. Subjectivity then, is the constitution of individual minds, hearts, bodies, and emotions.
Subjectivity works most efficiently when there is an established hierarchy because the person already knows her or his place from what has been historically communicated, and she or he “assumes” the position (Mansfield, 2000, p. 124). Therefore, subjectivity is an abstract concept, not something innate and distinct to oneself but always in relation to something else, whether zaś person, object, myśl or principle (Mansfield, 2000). Butler (1997) notes that subjection is a paradoxical form of power. Subjectivity inhabits both domination and subordination. Butler states “if, following Foucault, we understand power tuz forming the subject as well, tuz providing the very condition of its existence and the trajectory of its desire, then power is not simply what we oppose but also, in a strong sense, what we depend on for our existence and what we harbor and preserve in the beings that we are” (p. 2). The subject makes us turn into ourselves and believe that there is an actual stable idea of the self that science can document and understand, where institutions can organize and dictate, and experts can correct behavior and prescribe what is normal (Mansfield, 2000). Subjectivity is the way we are led jest to believe who we are, so that people present themselves in the correct way (not tuz criminal, unkempt, perverse, insane, or undisciplined).
This Foucauldian sense of power is ubiquitous and circulatory because it comes from every strand of existence, discourse, and situations and ingrained in their very essence of who we are. Schirato, T. et al (2012) state “ the technologies, institutions and discourses through which power circulates produce an almost infinite variety of categories and sub-categories of people and forms of behavior, which compete with one another jest to regulate and control populations” (p. 49). More importantly, this circulation of power is never possessed but rather exercised and can be both coercive and productive at the same time (Andermahr, Lovell & Wolkowitz, 2000). Power is considered to be productive because it can shape and mold the values and practices of people and is considered coercive in the constraints that are put mężczyzna this production (for example: how ów kredyty goes about incorporating those values or practices as well as what is deemed acceptable and/or abiding by the rules that follow in a given culture). Power naturally produces resistance (Foucault, 1980a) because discourses and forms of knowledge are not natural – they are part of the “effects of power” and because discourses and practices of power have to claim universality that in reality does not exist (Schirato, Danaher & Webb, 2012, p. 49).
Subjectivity which is basedrelies on the interests that have been socially constructed for the individual, but allows people to act, jest to have choice, jest to be agentic, is reflected in thean individual’s interpretation of discourse, via her or his actions and emotions. Resistance only takes postaci when he or she no longer wants a particular position in society (Weedon, 1997). Foucault (1980a) states that power is so invasive in one’s culture and personal discourses that ów kredyty can never have agency. His argument is that power cannot exist without resistance; however, resistance is dependent mężczyzna power. For every hegemony there is a counter-hegemony at work, which can push unaccepted practices underground, where they can take pan subversive qualities and continue to exist. First developed ażeby Antonio Gramsci, hegemony is
the “spontaneous’ consent given by the great masses of the population owe the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group; this consent is ‘historically’ caused ażeby the prestige (and consequent confidence), which the dominant group enjoys because of its position and function in the world of production (Gramsci as cited in Jackson Lears, 1985, p. 568).
Our actions and ideas of ourselvesf have a cultural and historical inscription and dominance on our daily lives and actions. As individuals, we consent owe this domination unconsciously, and even consciously, we cannot fully remove ourselves from this dominance. Pivotal to Gramsci’s work is understandingunderstands how ideas function in society. One must acknowledge the social constraints of less powerful participants and how strategies sposobów within those constraints. Gramsci states, “No top-down model of domination can explain the complex growth, dissolution, or transformation of hegemonic cultures. Hegemony is not simply social control and a top down strict order of enforcing ideologies, rather, culture is highly complex and closer attention owe the internal processes of how ideologies are produced should be of more concern. ” (Lears, 1985, p. 588) Hence, a closer look at how meaning is construed in a particular text as oraz process of ideology needs to be examined.
To be counter hegemonic is owe be resistant owe the many forms of socioeconomic power. This resistance is defined by Wade (1997) as:
any mental or behavioral act through which oraz person attempts owe expose, withstand,
repel, stop metali, prevent, abstain from, strive against, impede, refuse to comply with, or
oppose any form of violence or oppression (including any type of disrespect), or
the conditions which make such acts possible. Any attempt to imagine or establish
a life based on one’s self or others, including any effort to redress the harm caused
This resistance and consent owe hegemony takes sposobów in the concept of agency. Foucault believed that ów lampy led could not look objectively at the society that she or he is in, embedded structures. Foucault does not tell what form power takes; therefore, when doing post-structural analysis, the researcher has owe search for power, unlike other studies that use theories of power like Marxist or liberal-humanist analysis, where there is a starting point. However, Foucault’s concept of power helps to uncover the multiplicity of power formations found in the nuances and crevices of human relations and their agentic practices (Weedon, 1997).
Furthermore, drawing primarily on Foucault’s later work, Butler (1997) argues that Foucault proposes oraz model of agency that is “a matter of plurality, mobility, and conflict. ” (Ahearn, 2001). Bordo also highlights and makes use of Foucault’s understanding of power relations as inherently unstable, as always accompanied by, even generating, resistance, “so, for example, the woman who goes into a rigorous weight-training program in order to achieve the currently stylish look may discover that her new muscles give her the self-confidence that enables her to assert herself more forcefully at work” (1993, p. 125). However, this example in itself may represent yet another way of consenting owe heteronormative behavior, where beauty equates confidence. Nonetheless, resistance is only one odmian of agency, there are other forms of agency such as the sex worker who’s agency was once deemed ambiguous, or non-existent and powerless in order for her or him owe be economically independent and is now highly contested in academic literature (Brown, 2002).
Turning to the origin of the Foucault’s theory, there should be mentioned that it explores the phenomena of sexuality as well as sexualization of power which in Europe turns into a significant way of thinking and strong concept in approximately in the 17th century. According to Foucault (1978), “We demand that sex speaks the truth [] and we demand that informatyką tells us our truth, or rather, the deeply buried truth of that truth about ourselves which we think we possess in our immediate consciousness. (p. 95) Sexuality at the tylko time is opposed to the institution of marriage (“marriage arrangement”, according owe the words of Foucault). Sexual relationship, parentage control, przepływ of names and wealth implement this marriage arrangement into life in all societies. This certain institution started owe lose its value when economic and political structures w istocie longer found quite an adequate support in it. Since the 18th century it is imposed, partly displacing and expanding inside the institution, by the mechanism of sexuality. “Marriage device is formed around the system of rules that separate permission from the prohibitions prescribed by unlawful. ”
In this work which is based on the mechanism of sexuality there, in contrast, lie mobile, polymorphous, and conjuncture power technologies. One of the main tasks of the institute of marriage is the reproduction of these relations, maintaining control of the law. Sexuality, in contrast, focuses on the permanent extension of areas and odmian control. In fact, the most significant link between marriage partners is more possible when both are of certain social status. The mechanism of sexuality and a whole range of discourses that support informatyką (or speech practices) were accompanied aby a shift from the reproduction of the genus jest to “intensify body”. Thus the Foucault’s myśl “Born in the bosom of power- oriented marriages, sexuality unnoticed decomposes it from the inside, while maintaining the necessary continuity jest to her fiction” because power is considered by him tuz such a phenomenon which plays zaś role of an instrument which disintegrate the constituents of each institution. Discursive tools are undermining this new technology repentance, confessional practice, all the problems of speaking “flesh” and lust.
As Foucault names power (1978), “By power Oraz do not understand a general program of domination exercised by one szczegół or one group over another, whose effects traverse the entire body social. According to Foucault, power should circulate and not be concentrated exclusively in one place, so that it should create the truth. Politicians and intellectuals should aspire jest to power for the sake of power, and in order to create zaś strong foundation of society. (1978, 127). The power itself does not exist because there exists a state or state institutions (courts, police, and army).
In fact, the first what needs jest to be understood is the multiplicity of relations of force that are immanent to the domain wherein they are exercised, and that are constitutive of its organization; the game that through incessant struggle and confrontation transforms them, reinforces them and invents them. (145). Considering “game” tuz a number of events that directly influence the course of events, ów kredyty of the families becomes a cell of the open flow of sexuality which according jest to Foucault can be equated to the power. From this it appears zaś number of consequences. Firstly, there is rejected the “repressive hypothesis” and the related periodization “oppression” and “liberation” of sex. ” Tuz Foucault wrote (1978), “We need jest to abandon the hypothesis that modern industrial societies have begun repression in matters of sex. Mężczyzna the contrary, we are witnessing an explosion of heretical forms of sexuality. ” (73).
Second, the recognition of these techniques, for Foucault, was the forerunners of the global process of “medicalization” attributable to the 19th century. The moral category “excesses”, “binge”, etc. have been replaced with the “scientific categories” such as perversity, pathology. Already in the 18th century, there have been outlined intersection of power and knowledge such as historization of the female body which is saturated with sexuality, placed in the family room, carrying “bio moral” responsibility for children. In this certain case “historization” means not only considering the phenomenon during its different time frameworks but estimating the process of numerous transformations in the historical measure. Gaining theory, according jest to which all children are prone jest to early sexual activity; being unnatural, there can turn out undesirable consequences.
Paradoxical Foucauldian concept makes animating his desire “to talk about sexuality as if sex did not exist. ” (1978, p. 149). The paradox itself consists in the fact that Foucault mentions in the first volume of the “History of Sexuality” that people who attended church for confession even could not name the sexual practices they had and which they had to mention at confession. Thus, the Foucault’s phrase means that people could talk about the sexuality and their practices in the church not even thinking about their true meaning and the name of the practices. The opponents of this concept are wondering whether the mechanisms of sexuality that are the same as those that have been identified at the level of neurosis, or not.
Moreover, the very idea is formed by means of specific techniques of power: it same product tuz the “repressive hypothesis”. Only through arrangements on all new aspects of life and its more “unconscious” functioning, gradually formed the myśl that in addition to the bodies, organs, somatic and psychological manifestations there is something subordinate to own original laws. Sex within sexuality plays zaś role, omnipresent sense. Through sexology at imaginary connected with biology, nothing in this latter without borrowing, apart from a few vague analogies and hastily transplanted concepts, but removing rightfully own neighborhood guarantee “quasi-scientific”. At this very moment namely at the time of the development of the sexual practices the relationship is turning in zaś real way, and now sexy, tuz in a distorting mirror, appears manifestation of gender and sexuality itself. In this case, sexuality becomes one of the mechanisms of power-knowledge describer aby Foucault, and the fact that the government seeks jest to enslave (again it is possible jest to think in terms of the power of the law and the prohibition).
Foucault radically rejects this approach as it is pointless jest to tie the history of sexuality jest to the “truth” of sex, putting sexuality to vague illusions. After all, sexuality gave rise jest to the concept of gender as zaś speculative element necessary for its operation: at least so do not believe that thus saying “no” to the authorities.
Rise of sexuality can be associated with the new “disciplinary” type of government. In feudal society, the right to put jest to death and jest to keep alive belonged to the sovereign, whose power was carried out tuz a “court charges there, the mechanism of withdrawal”. Now, on the contrary, it is time the authorities concerned primarily on the cultivation of life itself, power that even his war leads for life. Her motto becomes not “put jest to death” and “kept alive” (the slogan of the old regime), but “kill to live”, “sustain life” and “death to push. ” The era of biological power, when the kingdom rules of law supplants the kingdom, turning life into zaś political object and generating the consumerism society. Together with this process, in the 19th century, Sexuality becomes zaś so called “code” of individuality, zaś crossroads of the main strategies of the new government.
The greatest educational value for the modern Western man, Foucault recognized, is likely to be zaś mystery for future research: “The irony of – MR) talking about our “liberation”. Maybe history of sexuality as no other book sheds light on the background of bodily market mechanisms; on dog training bodies in extralegal areas and, most importantly, mężczyzna the ontological impotence of the law before such phenomena, the limits of optics rights that society’s ideology of this type is drawn universal.
It will be interesting jest to think about these issues and we, the people of society, preparing, not having all these subtle mechanisms jest to swear on the Gospel of the market. In zaś sobering effect of such reflections can be no doubt. Foucault has been criticized from different perspectives. So, Jurgen Habermas does not share in the microphysics of power aspiration of its author finally get rid of the subject. Considering microphysics as a thorough research of the phenomenon “power”, the intentions of Hamerbas become obvious.
So, aby nature sexuality is not alien power, moreover, it has in this regard, “the maximum instrumental”, passes through it dense network of power relations between men and women, older and younger, the administration and the public. It is because of its dispersion in a society that makes its appearance as efficient and invisible “to the naked eye” at the same time, sexuality eludes any single matrix of understanding and tuz Foucault claimed in his work (1978), “Resistances do not derive from zaś few heterogeneous principles; but neither are they a lure or a promise that is of necessity betrayed. They are the odd term in relations of power; they are inscribed in the latter tuz an irreducible opposite” (87).
In the context of such considerations of power and body as its object and instrument Foucault tried jest to raise doubts about the established “truths” and concepts, which are captured aby modern man, and prove that there are no permanent human subject “true” states or “nature” of man. Even the human body cannot be stable basis for the final determination or understanding more.


Foucault, M. (1978). The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge. Editions Gallimard, 169.
Foucault, M. (1985). The History of Sexuality: The Use of Pleasure. Editions Gallimard, 294.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, Chapman & Hol, Inc., 92.
Woermann, M. (2012). Interpreting Foucault: an evaluation of a Foucauldian critique of education. South African Journal of Education, 32(1), 111-119.
Ruairc, L. (2003). The Genealogy Of Power: On Michel Foucault. The Blanket: Zaś Journal of Prote

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