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Essays On Foucault And Power

Foucault and the Theories of Power and Identity Essay

1366 WordsMar 21st, 20056 Pages

Foucault believed that power is never in any one person's hands, it does not show itself in any obvious manner but rather as something that works its way into our imaginations and serves to constrain how we act. For example in the setting of a workplace the power does not pass from the top down; instead it circulates through their organizational practices. Such practices act like a grid, provoking and inciting certain courses of action and denying others. Foucault considers this as no straightforward matter and believes that it rests on how far individuals interpret what is being laid down as "obvious" or "self evident", institutional power works best when all parties accept it willingly. Foucault's notion of power is a difficult notion to…show more content…

In that sense power acts as a positive force as oppose to a negative one; it enables people to control their own lives. Although power is seen as an unrestricted issue it is still viewed by Foucault as a stabilising force that leaves little room for manoeuvre, the way in which this is done is by, for example, a workplace closing down possibilities, inciting or inducing a certain course of action as oppose to proliferating them, this is the way in which they keep a hold on peoples lives, ordering them in a particular direction. It is at this point, Foucault argues, where the workforce feels as if they are being monitored, that they "bring themselves into line and assume the role that has been indirectly carved out for them."2 In other terms "power works on and through agents in ways which structurally limit what they otherwise might have done."3 "This method of domination is that it is through people working on their own conduct that they bring themselves to order. At the level of the ongoing running of institutions on a day-to-day basis, individuals internalise what is expected of them because it seems the right and proper thing to do. If this sounds less than total domination, that is

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Michel Foucault Essay

Foucault, Michel (1926-1984), French philosopher, who attempted to show that the basic ideas which people normally take to be permanent truths about human nature and society change in the course of history. His studies challenged the influence of German political philosopher Karl Marx and Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Foucault offered new concepts that challenged people's assumptions about prisons, the police, insurance, care of the mentally ill, gay rights, and welfare.

He sees himself as a transdiscursive author: this term identifies an author (like Foucault) as not just the author of a book, but the author of a theory, tradition, or discipline.

Foucault has influenced various fields like the study of subjectivity, power, knowledge, discourse, history, sexuality, madness, and the penal system. He is considered as a great influence in new historicism because its not just literature being studied, but the discourse of power, knowledge, sexuality, discipline, different social, political, and cultural practices.

Foucault looks at various topics as discourses: ways of constituting knowledge, together with social practices, forms of subjectivity and the power relations which inhere in such knowledges, and the relations between them.

Example: the discourse of language is not looked at as the linguistic codes that generate a set of statements , rather it deals with rules that govern the practice of language, who is entitled to speak , and how language prohibits some and marginalize others . These rules are not mysteriously imbedded deep in the discourse , but are to be found by looking at the contexts and institutions in which discourse is spoken , such as hospitals and asylums or professions and disciplines. " (Foucault As An Author , p10)

Language can be used to classify people (sometimes permanently) with some socially charged labels: criminals, terrorists, communists, gays, insane, etc. This is how power is practiced in this discourse. Therefore language is an exchange of power between a label and the labeled (like signifier and signified).

However, unlike Saussure's structuralism, there is no universal "truth" or model for language; in Foucault's point of view, the power relation in these different discourses are always in a state of changing history, a temporary thing with no final truth/knowledge to be discovered.

Example: Foucault shows how the discourse of language on homosexuality shifted from describing a practice to describing a person or...

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Michel Foucault, Panopticism and Facebook Essay

1423 words - 6 pages Welcome to Facebook. Make yourself comfortable as with each status, piece of information, and picture, you are slowly, but surely, more and more under the power of others. Why, you might ask? Isn’t Facebook just a great, flexible, free blog that one can use to create a virtual identity and keep up with everyone? Well, remember how they say that knowledge is power? Exactly. Everyday, you and your friends give Facebook the power to know your...

Analysis of In Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault

623 words - 2 pages Analysis of In Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault In Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault discuses the history of insanity in Europe from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. He begins his analysis with the treatment of the lepers and criminals concluding with the treatment of the insane. As “madness” became part of everyday life, people of the time were though to be threatened by “madness”. This sense of threat resulted in...

"My father worked at ford. He hated it – it was just like school or prison." Discuss the above statement focusing on the ideas of Michel Foucault.

1208 words - 5 pages When you look back on how the Ford motorcar factory was run 90 years ago in comparison to how it is run now, you can say that a lot has changed. But in terms of the management system (Taylorist approach) and the main objectives (increased labour = maximum productivity), not much has changed at all. The writer will take a deeper insight into the school/ prison theory at Ford and will relate it to Michel Foucault's ideas. By 1923 the...

Foucault, Michel: Verteidigung der Gesellschaft. Vorlesung am Collège de France

1234 words - 5 pages Dieser Text beschäftigt sich im Wesentlichen mit der Frage wie Staatsrassismus, der einen Kernpunkt zur Problematik des Krieges liefert, möglich ist und beleuchtet dabei sowohl seine Entstehung, als auch die Gründe für dessen Existenz. Es werden Begriffe wie Disziplinartechnik, Biopolitik und Macht näher erläutert und im Hinblick auf ihre Wichtigkeit für die Entwicklung von Rassismus näher analysiert....

In a world of increasing globalization, and individualization, we are more concerned with our own lives, choices, destiny than with the lives, choices, destiny of others.

2175 words - 9 pages An ordinary citizen of the non western world is today more aware than before of how insubstantial is his share of the world's wealth. He knows that he knows under conditions that are much harsher and more devastating than those of the westerner and that he is commended to a much shorter life. The western world is scarcely aware of this, overwhelming feeling of humiliation that is experienced by most of the world population. Discuss the...

Evaluation of the Usefulness of Selected Examples of Foucault's Theory

1314 words - 5 pages Within this paper, I shall evaluate the usefulness of selected examples of Foucault’s theories from a feminist perspective. To begin, a short introduction will outline the era in which Foucault wrote, as this has been seen as influential to his work, inspiring him to move away from the former ideological ways of thinking about the world (Taylor and Vintges 2004, Mills 1997). I shall then go on to consider the changing nature of feminism, which...

Social Order (Foucault and Goffman)

1651 words - 7 pages Introduction Social order derives from an interpretation of a net of relations, symbols and social codes. It creates 'a sense of how individuals all fit together in shared spaces' (Silva, 2009, p. 308), and thus relies on encoding of human behaviour in physical spaces as well as among various individuals. In any society, people must acquire knowledge of how to relate to one another and their environment. Order is then established by a...

This essay is about how the concept of the "social construction of reality" is incorrect because of women and elderly athlete participation.

1190 words - 5 pages The Oxford English dictionary states that the work athlete is derived from the word athlos. The word athlos translated to the English language means "to content for a prize." Based on the humanistic study of language, and literature the term athlete has come to mean a competitor in physical exercise. It also comes to mean an individual who by special training and exercise has acquired great physical strength.... a physically powerful, robust,...

Welfare and Power: More Harm Than Good?

1003 words - 4 pages In her article, "To Fulfill Their `Rightly Needs': Consumerism and the National Welfare Rights Movement," Felicia Kornbluh reflects on the relationship between welfare departments and the lower class recipients. Noting the battle over the content of the budget between beneficiaries of welfare and authorities (Kornbluh, 94), Kornbluh points to "fair hearings" as a solution to disputes (97). Yet, the hearings may amount to nothing due to...

Opinionated essay about Michel Foucault's essay "panopticism"

918 words - 4 pages PanopticismMichel Foucault, in his essay Panopticism, talks about how the panopticon is a mechanism of power. But what I wonder is this: Is it the panopticon that holds the power or is it just the fear of being watched that really is...

The Author Function

1686 words - 7 pages Those literary critics and conventionally minded readers who seek to critically engage the many texts which shape the canon of Western knowledge too often ask the same, misguided questions. Their discourse is, according to Michel Foucault, trapped within parameters established by a dominant mode of thinking with grants the “author” absolute primacy. Even the recognition of this paradigm too often produces a similarly misguided interrogation: “Who...

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