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Society Must be Defended/ Foucault (下)


Foucault 在台灣是夠火紅的了,我覺得實在是沒有必要再交代這個法國光頭是誰。不過,這本書倒是要交代一下。

Foucault 最紅的書大概有三本: Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality, Madness and Civilization。NS這個人夠怪,硬是挑了這一本沒有人聽過的 Society Must be Defended。

Society Must be Defended是Foucault 1976年的時候在法藍西學院的講座內容。編這本書的人很骨意,硬是找到當時有去聽講作的人的錄音帶,然後一個字一個字把他打成文字搞,很猛。




Key Words: power relation, theory of domination, genealogy, historical-political discourse, theory of sovereignty, discourse of war, bio-power and racism, race struggles.

By Shih-Yang Kao

Foucault’s project is to replace the theory of sovereignty with the theory of domination. The former tells a story that sovereignty would be granted a unitary power when individuals transfer their naturally-endowed rights to that sovereignty through contract. The way in which Foucault overthrows this powerful discourse is not easy to follow, but it involves, I think, two major intertwined procedures. The first is to study power at point where power transgresses the rules of right. The second is to offer a genealogy showing that the theory of sovereignty itself is in fact manufactured by power. Foucault’s theory of domination, then, is featured through the book by these two exercises.

Foucault introduces the analysis of war, and I think the reason is that war is the point where power transgresses the rules of right. His logic is like this: if we are able to find a situation in which the relations between power and right is not as stable and straightforward as what we have been taught by the theory of sovereignty, then the theory can no longer be held. To do this, Foucault adopts a historical-political discourse of war. It is a discourse saying that rules of right, and all political institutions that are created to support those rules, are the products of war. And if war means confrontations of powers, then it is power that is manufacturing right through wars. Foucault’s thesis is compelling, and I think it urges for more historical investigations to make the thesis more solid. Foucault offers detail history of wars between races in the West, but it seems to me that this approach leaves out some factors that make real battles complicated, such as competition for resources, differences in ideologies, and religions. If we want to know how the making of state is achieved in different forms through the exercises of power and war, we need to consider more cases.

At the same time, Foucault attacks the theory of sovereignty by offering a genealogy, which shows that the theory itself is a product of power relations. Foucault argues that the making of juridical edifice in Europe in the beginning was associated with the interests of the royal power: the king invented the juridical edifice to legitimate his own sovereignty. Ever since then, the discourse of right in the theory of sovereignty has been always shaped in the hands of power-holders, for whom juridical edifice had served as their instrument. However, this power-effect is completely dissolved, or masked, in the theory of sovereignty, where power becomes a right that can be possessed and transferred as commodities. In other words, the secret of the theory of sovereignty is that it successfully eliminates the real workings of power by inventing an elusive concept of power within its discourse of right. Here, Foucault does not only successfully unsettle the theory of sovereignty and its truth-effect, but also fully demonstrates how genealogy as a tactic can be performed to oppose against the coercion of a unitary scientific discourse.

Finally, I want to make a rudimentary comparison between Bourdieu and Foucault. It seems to me that both Bourdieu and Foucault are interested in the exercise of deconstruction; but they use different approaches and aim at different subjects. Bourdieu’s epistemological vigilance is to deconstruct those taken-for-granted concepts of sociology. For him, unless we can deconstruct our own intellectual presuppositions (the action of ‘the break’ in his term), we would never be able to reconstruct scientific facts, hypotheses, inquires, and models in a systematical way. In contrast, Foucault’s project is to deconstruct the every realm of society, including that of knowledge, by revealing the workings of power. He would certainly oppose against Bourdieu’s epistemology, for the exercise of shaping sociological knowledge into a science is to inscribe that knowledge in, and further reinforce, the power hierarchy.

2 則迴響 leave one →
  1. 04/21/2006 1:39 上午

    我是在goole 上查Foucault查到這個blog的。這個blog做的真好。如果可以了話,我可以把它加到我的link上面嗎? BTW,我是 doctoral student in USF,major in literacy and second language acquisition. 現在每星期在ucb有拿一門課。說不定有空可以聊一下。

  2. 痞子揚為期末抓狂 permalink*
    04/21/2006 3:25 下午

    啊? 古狗傅科會找到雞鴨狗狒喔? 看來是沾了那個光頭的光輝,有點心虛…



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