File Name: power subjectification and resistance in foucault .zip
What do madness, delinquency, sexuality, and Christian confessional practices have in common?
Direct-to-consumer advertising DTCA , the advertisement of medical and pharmaceutical products directly to patients through multiple media, has only been legal in the United States since This development has garnered considerable attention from researchers in many disciplines, including medical sociology and biomedical ethics. Although several scholars have established links between Foucault and medicalization from a number of different disciplines, including anthropology Frykman and Lofgren, , history, Mort, , philosophy Lupton, , and sociology Conrad , , , ; Turner ; Clarke et al. Conrad, , As a result, Conrad argues that more and more spheres of life have become medicalized, such that an ever-expanding range of medical treatments is applied to human conditions.
The epistemological idea of the autonomous subject capable of self-reflection, distinct from the objects of its actions, and striving towards emancipation has been an intrinsic part of modern history and historiography. This article looks instead at the sociological and cultural theories of the subject articulated in the second half of the 20 th century.
While different in many respects from the classical philosophy of the subject, these theories arise from a common set of questions: How are subjects made? Or, more precisely, how are individuals made into subjects and how do they make themselves into subjects? Which practices form subjects? How do individuals become aware of themselves as selves? How do subjects acquire self-knowledge and what do they come to know?
All these questions concern subjectification, the historical factors and conditions that make individuals into societally acknowledged individuals equipped with agency. Theories of the subject are interested in how subjects produce themselves and how they are produced in social structures such as education, bureaucratic apparatuses bureaucracies, legal rules, ideals of physical health, and architectural spaces. A decisive aspect of sociological and cultural theories of the subject is the historicity of human essence, a view they share with historical anthropology.
That is to say, they do not do regard humanness as a fixed quality but as a product of changing anthropological projections, political programs, and formations of self based on historically contingent institutional structures and definitions.
Sociological and cultural theories of the subject have been primarily shaped by postmodernism. It is no surprise, therefore, that there exists no single uniform theory of the subject. Rather, theories of the subject draw on approaches from poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, praxeology, postcolonial studies, media theory, gender studies, and intersectionality.
Due to the exceptionally wide range they comprise, not all of these approaches can be addressed in this article. I follow this presentation with a discussion of important trends in historical, sociological, and cultural scholarship and then conclude by briefly examining the problems associated with a contemporary history of subjectification.
The government of bodies and souls does not merely respond to practices of discipline; every single person empowers him- or herself by self-government, and in relation to others. In addressing these questions, Foucault takes a genealogical approach. Since the 18 th century, he argues, the freedom of the individual has been linked to the surveillance of the population. Individual freedom provides states legitimacy for the deployment of functional apparatuses of power and knowledge.
Indeed, it is freedom that elicits technologies of power. The subject arises in two ways. On the one hand, subjects are subject to, and subject themselves to, certain rules. On the other, they determine themselves through their own freedom.
However, these apparatuses of power are neither sequential nor antipodal — the one, repressive; the other, productive. Rather they coexist and in so doing expand the spectra of power. Theoretical models of interpellation conceive the societal configuration of subjects in conjunction with the formation of self and others. They help us to understand subjectification as an act of decentralisation. For it is not the sovereign subject who is interpellated; the interpellation itself constitutes the subject.
By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject. But at a societal level, the two must be imagined as a simultaneous and mutually constitutive act.
The state apparatuses that transmit ideology e. Judith Butler adopts the basic ideas of Foucault and Althusser but argues that the act of interpellation is open to interpretation and hence to misunderstanding. Austin and the work of Jacques Derrida on iteration, Butler regards interpellation as a performative act. As such, an instance of interpellation is not an individual act of naming but part of an endless chain of performative utterances without a genuine origin.
Misnomers and failures act as subversive repetitions in the chain of performative utterances. Because the repetitions are not identical, they make any individual act of identification precarious and elicit shifts in meaning. According to Butler, iteration in different spatio-temporal contexts changes signs and resignifies their meanings. But what about the more general question of agency, i. For both Butler and Foucault, structural changes could only take place by reproducing structures.
In a sense, acts of resistance are paradoxical effects of subjectification as subjection. Iterative shifts of meaning through subjection make this project both ambivalent and subversive. Processes of subjectification are fields of power that are heterogeneous and complex and bring with them shifts in meaning that are equally heterogeneous and complex.
This counter-conduct comprises subversive practices such as privation, dissidence, escape, and physical resistance. The idea of stubborness, or Eigensinn, comprises a wider array to act in situations of hegemonic power than resistance or subjection.
In this section, I turn to the paradigmatic catalysts for understanding such markers as problematic: the gender theories of Judith Butler and the debates of postcolonial studies.
She holds that the ostensibly biological facts of sex and body are effects of performative practices that materialize through signs and speech acts and produce physical identities. This field comprises an array of ideas that are of interest for the theory and history of subjectification. Two areas in particular bring into relief the vexing moments of colonial subjectification and extend beyond the colonial context. On the one hand, postcolonial studies ask how subalterns, i.
On the other hand, they explore processes of ambiguous identity formation under colonial rule. Western systems of knowledge and their communicative rules prevent subalterns from successfully articulating a point of view. Homi K. Bhabha has introduced the interrelated concepts of mimicry and hybridity to describe the ambivalences and ambiguities of colonial subjectification.
While hybridity describes the cultural, linguistic, political figuration of polysemous representations of colonizing and colonized subjects, mimicry is the process whereby the colonized imitate the culture of the colonizers and thereby camouflage the difference between the two. For Bhabha, colonial subject formation is a slippery process riven with ambivalences and constantly producing difference.
Subjectification and subject formation have attracted much interdisciplinary attention from German sociologists, cultural studies scholars, philosophers, and historians since the s. Thematically, these fields borrow extensively from the genealogies of the subject undertaken by Foucault and his disciples.
They focus on the knowledge and practices of the human sciences, the concept of bodily health and disease, sexuality, and the government and administration of social life.
Despite this similarity, it is important to note that the sociological and historical models of subjectification do not necessary operate within a Foucauldian framework.
Current historical scholarship can be grouped into three areas: the history of the modern self and sociality, the analysis of homo economicus , and the history of physical and psychological subjectification. This classification is purely functional, however. In reality, processes of subjectification in Modernity distinguish themselves precisely through their interrelationships and reciprocal effects.
Scholars in this field discuss the genesis of citizenship in 19 th century America and U. The particular appeal of subjectification theory lies in its understanding of subjects in their physical and emotional existence amid a broad spectrum of everyday forms of subjectification. In this way, it allows scholars to make new historical comparisons between policies regulating bodies and societies.
Studies of dictatorships explicitly address the conjuncture of political systems of rule and subjectification, asking how and to what extent subjectification in dictatorships is similar or comparable to that in liberal societies. In postcolonial studies, scholars have carried out empirical analyses of the government and administration of colonial subjects. Nevertheless, it is symptomatic of many historical studies on subjectification, which rarely make explicit the social and cultural assumptions underlying their interpretative frameworks.
Studies in sociology and political science tend to focus more on the social structures that subjectify individuals. Taking their cue primarily from governmentality studies, they examine present-day phenomena through the lens of earlier developments in genetics, medicine, social police, health and labour market policies, gender, and criminology.
In s, numerous sociologists began to think critically about contemporary individuality and individualisation. In Germany, the best known of these is Ulrich Beck, whose work on reflective modernity and risk has been received much attention in contemporary history as well as in sociology. First published in in his book Risikogesellschaft , Beck argues that society has become increasingly individualized since the s.
Amid changes in education and social mobility and increasing levels of unemployment institutions once central to society such as the family, marriage, parenthood, gender roles, local communities, and work relationships dissolved and the individual became the decisive force in shaping social relationships. Traditional class-based of biographies of industrial society were replaced with the do-it-yourself life paths of the individual.
Unlike its predecessors, the modern individual brings an existential freedom of choice whose uncertainties and dilemmas act as accelerators of social inequality. Both as an ideal and as an interpellation, homo economicus plays a paradigmatic role in current debates about economic subjectification and its genesis in the last third of the 20 th century.
Now a standard figure in economy theory, homo economicus can be traced back to the English economist John Stuart Mill, who wanted to develop a method for understanding economic decision-making in the modern industrial age. By , the topos of the economically self-interested human agent had entrenched itself in economics, literature, and anthropology. The figure of homo economicus received new attention at the turn of the millennium as debates critical of capitalism sought to explain recent changes to work and to life in general.
In the late s, sociologists observed a fundamental break in the organization of capital markets and labour. They found that globalized capitalism tended towards unfettered profit maximization, and the neoliberal economic policies that accompanied it had begun to affect all areas of society, up to and including the social government of individuals. The modern employee was supposed to be flexible, mobile, creative, and self-motivated. In a similar vein, researchers in governmentality studies have argued that neoliberal ideas championing self-driven behaviour and self-empowerment have shaped social policy in the West since the s.
For instance, Hans J. Pongratz and G. In recent years, contemporary historians have drawn on these sociological studies and adopted neoliberal subjectification as an interpretative framework. Smartly dressed and focused on consumerism and career, Yuppies represented the ideal embodiment of the neoliberal self.
Of course, the closer one looks at working subjects and their practices, the more generalizations like the Yuppie give way to the nuances of individual reality. The urgency with which sociological studies stress the inequalities in the organisation and availability of employment and the new types of instability that come with expanded individual responsibility suggests the need for more concrete explorations of their historical causes.
The subjectivity of work practices is also primarily at issue when it comes to the body at work. Conceptions of work and its organisation show which forms of subjectification are addressed and the role discipline, codetermination, and self-organization play in the process. The history of consumption brings further aspects of economic subjectification into view. Since the s, historians have emphasized the importance of the role played by consumption in subjectification.
Of all the academic fields exploring subjectification, the history of psychology and mental health is the most extensive. The British sociologist Nikolas Rose pioneered this field in the s, focusing on how theories in human sciences developed, how they spread, and how conceptions of the self have changed.
In particular, they address the political forms of these technologies as they change over time. Another decisive factor in the rise of these subjectifying practices is the application of scientific knowledge to the modern institutions governing social life such as hospital, asylums and government agencies, to everyday routines, and to regulatory social policies.
Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. Power, Subjectification and Resistance in Foucault. Kevin Jon Heller. Substance 25 1 Social and Political Philosophy.
Poststructuralism and contemporary feminism have emerged as two of the most influential political and cultural movements of the late twentieth century. The recent alliance between them has been marked by an especially lively engagement with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault. Although Foucault makes few references to women or to the issue of gender in his writings, his treatment of the relations between power, the body and sexuality has stimulated extensive feminist interest. Rather than assuming that the movement of history can be explained by the intentions and aims of individual actors, genealogy investigates the complex and shifting network of relations between power, knowledge and the body which produce historically specific forms of subjectivity. Thus, genealogy is a form of social critique that seeks to determine possibilities for social change and ethical transformation of ourselves. In such societies, he claims, power was centralized and coordinated by a sovereign authority who exercised absolute control over the population through the threat or open display of violence. One pole is concerned with the efficient government of the population as a whole and focuses on the management of the life processes of the social body.
Power, Subjectification and Resistance in Foucault. Kevin Jon Heller. Power relations are both intentional and non-subjective. Michel Foucault (HS I, ).
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The epistemological idea of the autonomous subject capable of self-reflection, distinct from the objects of its actions, and striving towards emancipation has been an intrinsic part of modern history and historiography. This article looks instead at the sociological and cultural theories of the subject articulated in the second half of the 20 th century. While different in many respects from the classical philosophy of the subject, these theories arise from a common set of questions: How are subjects made? Or, more precisely, how are individuals made into subjects and how do they make themselves into subjects? Which practices form subjects? How do individuals become aware of themselves as selves? How do subjects acquire self-knowledge and what do they come to know?
Abstract: This article offers a pragmatic and relational analysis of the controversial heuristic of cultural resistance and presents some of the problems that affect the production and distribution of the poetic discourses of resistance and emancipation. The purpose of this article is to consider the production and reception of the poetic discourses of resistance in the light of a relational—and not universal—theory of the historical subject. The relational thought system, in its various orientations Cassirer, Elias, Bourdieu, Even-Zohar, Calhoun, Bourriaud… , could be a suitable base from which to overcome blocks such as those caused by polarizations of the dominion-subalternity or power-resistance variety—this last being very persistent in the sociological debate to highlight the dependence on the nuclei of power and of their discourses that exists in every position of political-cultural resistance. Observing the practices and discourses of resistance with a relational mindset should help us further three tasks which are decisive at this point in time: 1 rethinking the connections between art and politics in the light of different disciplines and perspectives; 2 signalling the processes of ideological inversion in the critical tradition, which are often integrated into the spectacularization and trivialization of public life as simulacra of resistance and above all as objects of consumption; and 3 differentiating between sociocultural performative effects and the immediate political efficacy of public intervention. The latter is with a view to overcoming, first of all, possible interventionist or propagandistic ways of thinking and their possible didactic-ideological concentration into a supposedly revealed referent: the world as a whole or one of its manifestations. But it also has the aim of better measuring phenomena that are difficult to contrast empirically awareness-raising, complicity, indifference, or discursive mimetization, among others , to which I will hardly be able to allude here, despite their proven incidence in important dimensions of the social and cultural functioning of the poetics of resistance.
Notions of subject and power in Foucaultian readings and their influence in organization and people management studies. This article reflects on the notion of subject and power characterized by Foucault, considering the three intellectual phases and possibilities of the subject, as portrayed in studies on organizations and management. The research assumes that the ways in which Foucault characterized the subject in intellectual phases reflects the ways the organization manages the individual. In addition, this work highlights the potential of the Foucaultian approach regarding the analysis of subjects and the relations of power in the organizations.
I conclude with some reflections on how liberation activism and scholarship might respond to this new discursive challenge. The human-nonhuman power relationship inherent in pastoralism is also only discussed by Foucault as a metaphor for human-human relations [ 1 ]. Furthermore, there are important differences between the governance of human subjects and the oppression of nonhuman animals. Most obviously, the latter are generally denied possession of themselves exemplified in their legal status as property, see Francione [ 18 ] , or denied equivalent moral worth to human animals even when a level of subjectivity is granted to them, as in the case of their continued instrumentalization in animal welfare science see Twine [ 19 ]. Nevertheless, lack of overt interest in human-nonhuman animal relations by a theorist, does not disallow the development of that theory by others in that direction.
Consequently, Foucault concludes:. When the prisoners began to speak, they had their own theory of prison, punishment, and justice. What really matters is this kind of discourse against power, the counter-discourse expressed by prisoners […], and not a discourse on criminality. This disrupting of the normative order of representation is twofold: it refers on the one hand to the end of the legitimacy of a critical discourse on a specific socially relevant situation, relying on the existence of a transcendent figure of an erudite or knowledgeable activist intellectual; and it highlights on the other hand a rupture with a specific hierarchical disposition of representation in the field of the aesthetics.
Direct-to-consumer advertising DTCA , the advertisement of medical and pharmaceutical products directly to patients through multiple media, has only been legal in the United States since This development has garnered considerable attention from researchers in many disciplines, including medical sociology and biomedical ethics. Although several scholars have established links between Foucault and medicalization from a number of different disciplines, including anthropology Frykman and Lofgren, , history, Mort, , philosophy Lupton, , and sociology Conrad , , , ; Turner ; Clarke et al.
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