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Unformatted text preview: ate of war where life is nasty, brutish and short. People necessarily trade their natural rights to a state in turn for protection. Hobbs equated the state with sovereign power and what he had in mind is eloquently displayed in the frontispiece of his book (Figure 16), showing a giant figure (the king) overlooking a landscape of rolling hills, fields, and villages. The vanishing point of the perspective is dominated by the giant figure whose torso and arms are covered with an 24 interweave of faceless heads symbolizing the mass of people that surrendered their power to the supreme authority of the sovereign in exchange for security. Figure 16 Frontispiece of Hobbes’ Leviathan Sovereign power today is represented by laws, rights, parliaments, and elected officials (Foucault 1980: 88). Foucault claimed that there exists a richer, more complex view of power, not exclusively possessed by a dominant class, or the state. He called it non‐sovereign power. There is no great divide between rulers and ruled. Power is not always imposed from above because it can come from below oozing out of micro‐spaces. Power is employed and exercised through a net‐like organization; individuals are not only its consenting target, but are also the elements of its articulation. Power is in play in small individual parts and it is exercised from innumerable points in concrete actions. There are creative productive points of resistance everywhere in the power network. There is “no single locus of great Refusal,” no soul of revolt, no grand projects that are global or revolutionary. Foucault’s (1980) great contribution here was to disrupt the totalizing unity of the discourse tightly bound to sovereign power and permanently alter our conception of power. I believe the idea of the nexus of relations synthesizes Foucault’s concepts of disciplinary, sovereign, and non‐sovereign power. To show those links I will return to the example of poverty. Economics exerts disciplinary power over householders and labor by threatening denial of income, necessary for meeting our essential material needs. Through the pervasive power of economics as a discourse/practice corporations are able to discipline labor, weaken environmental regulation, control the state, and totally incorporate the household into the exchange economy. If the cause of poverty is the lack of economic growth, the...
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This document was uploaded on 01/24/2014.

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