Foucault and Genealogy

Victor vrosado at ic.sunysb.edu
Wed Feb 20 11:13:00 MST 2002


[ Victor: you MUST strip out the line beginning with "PLEASE clip all
extraneous ..." otherwise your post bounces. 

Quoted text snipped.

Les]





on 2/20/02 8:41 AM, Xxx Xxxx at xxxxxxxxxx at hotmail.com wrote:

> [ converted from HTML, clipped extraneous text. Les ]
> 
> 
>  Cheers Victor,
> 
>  By  'What happens is that there is no real objectivty, only subjectivity
> filtered through the Subject (the bougeious individual), or some kind of
> manifestation of the Subject, ex.- Power, Will, Discourse, etc.', do you mean
> that social reality is thus understood by Foucault in terms of the subjective
> consciousness historically determined by the effects of certain power
> relations?
> Foucault seems to say that there is no other way of knowing anything other
> than
> via the social consciousness of a particular historical subject within a
> particular nexus of power effects?  Similarly there is no way of resisting
> anything other than from the perspective of the subject as conditioned by a
> particualr mode of power?
> 

Yes, something like that.

What happens is sort of a metaphysical vacuum.  If you don't have a theory
that sufficiently explains reality (both subjectivity, social relations, and
objectivity, that is, things independent of the subject) some kind of
manifestation of the subject will be put into that ontological void... with
Foucault it happened with power.

I disagree with Foucault.  I think our will and power often contaminate
discourse, but even social relations and ideology consist of factors that
are irreducible to the b subject.

Social Relations

Marx:  In social production of their life, men enter into definite relations
that are independent of their will, relations of production to which
correspond a definite definite stage of development of their material
productive forces. [preface to critique of political economy]

When we discussed the falling rate of profit, it was interesting how caps,
independent of their will, where digging there own graves.  If they want to
compete as the ruling class in a capitalist society, they have to outdo
their competitors and keep investing in machinery, whether they want to or
know the real consequences of their actions.



Ideology
In my ideological studies of feudalism and capitalism, i am finding that
ideas have an ideological infrastructure/matrix secreted by the social
relations.  This matrix is always there, independent of the will or
consciousness of the individual.  This matrix we call the ideological
unconcious and evolves based on the changing social relations from feudalism
to capitalism.  

The subject's ideas are constantly  contaminated by this matrix or in a
battle with them (e.g- Marx critiques Ricardo and Smith because they
superimposed the b Subject, the dominant form of the ideological unconcious
of capitalism, upon the rest of history).

The above two things stand as proof against Foucault's thesis.  Also,I
believe that science is not all ideology (against Althusser) or all
determined by power.  I believe that the law of gravity exists independent
of whether the caps say so.  I believe in the laws of motion of capitalism
discovered by Marx exist, independent of whether the caps make it a dominant
discourse or whether i "Will" it to happen.

-Victor
 
  


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