Unformatted text preview: e data waiting to be discovered by our analysis. Causation emerges from the discursive process we deploy to understand problems. Furthermore, how we theorize causation directly affects who is empowered to act and at what scale the action will take place. Power In a social context power can be defined as the capacity of an agent to accomplish its will. Foucault bequeathed to us two very useful concepts of power—disciplinary power and non‐
sovereign power. I will briefly describe these two modes of power and then show how the nexus of relations links the two ideas. Foucault (Rabinow 1984)paid a great deal of attention to such topics as insanity, criminality, the medical gaze at the body, and sexuality. In each of these areas he spoke of specific discourse/practices through which human beings came to be defined, their behavior regulated, and subjected to what he called the power of scientific disciplines. The explication by Foucault (1980) of the relations among discourse, knowledge, and power was a significant step in the evolution of poststructural thinking. Foucault also gave us the concept of non‐sovereign power. Our conventional understanding of political power comes from two main sources—political science and Marxism. In this view power is seen as a force unto itself: some have it, others do not; like money it can be acquired, accumulated, exchanged, brokered, and used; some classes have more of it and others less; and the state has most of it, etc (Foucault 1990: 81‐102). Political science locates power at the center within institutions such as the parliament and the congress; political activity is associated with voting or working for a party. Marxists locate their understanding of power in political economy theories of class and state (Harvey 2010). Foucault calls this the “sovereign” view of power, which, is best exemplified in Hobbes’ spirit of the Leviathan (Cottingham 1996: 481‐486). Hobbes wrote famously that the natural condition of humanity is a st...
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- Winter '14
- Poverty, discourse theory, discursive aggregation, Discursive selection