2005_11_02_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and Global Dimensions Wednesday, 2 November 2005 TOPIC: How is power institutionalized? Foucault. Note: Excerpts from today are taken from “Two Lectures” by Michel Foucault by Pantheon Books (1980) Foucault, (1926-1984) French. Foucault talks about how power creates truth , not what truth/knowledge can tell us about power. He explores what rules of governance, what relationships, what conceptions of rights/obligation, what conceptions of truth are produced and implemented by different relations of power… He is concerned with the how of power, the mechanisms of power. .. Not specifically with the rules/rights of law that provide formal/official limits, but with power Truth, Knowledge, Theories of rights "Right" rights, governance, law how power works to the effects of truth that power produces/transmits, effects which reproduce this power ( feedback loop ) He begins with the traditional question of political philosophy: How is philosophy concerned with truth? How is philosophy (the pursuit of true knowledge) able to set limits to the rights of power? ( What rules of right are implemented by the relations of power in the production of discourses of truth?) Traditional question is how can philosophy tell us what is true about power and its limits? Philosophy produces truth and truth produces power. power is a function of truth, power = f (truth) Foucault’s point: He reverses this relationship. Power produces truth , truth is a function of power, truth = f (power) “My problem is rather this: what rules of right are implemented by the relations of power in the production of discourses of truth? Or alternatively, what type of power is susceptible of 11/02/05, page 1 of 5
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producing discourses of truth that in a society such as ours [he means Western capitalist society] are endowed with such potent effects? What I mean is this: in a society as such as ours, but basically in any society, there are manifold relations of power which permeate, characterize, and constitute the social body…” (Foucault 1980: 93) - cannot achieve intended/foreseen effects without language, without communication (except in one form of force) - discourse is just what is said and done “There can be no possible exercise of power without a certain economy of discourses of truth which operates through and on the basis of this association. We are subjected to the production of truth through power and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth.” (Foucault 1980: 93) Every society has a different conception of where truth comes from and where you can make it. Our society, we have particular way of producing truth – it’s not the same as it was in the past (e.g. through religion or the sovereign) but is now based in claims of knowledge/science/ truth . “…we are forced to produce the truth of power that our society demands, of which it has need, in
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2.158 taught by Professor Ericajames during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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2005_11_02_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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