File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2001/foucault.0108, message 46


Subject: Re: disciplinary society in crisis
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 19:56:38 


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<P>Dear Ferit<BR>Thanks for your response. Let me first state my position briefly and then I will take the points you have raised briefly as well.</P>
<P>I think Foucault studies the relationship between the accumulation of men and the accumulation of capital with the view of arriving at the conditions of the possibility and continued sustenance of capitalism. It is normally understood that Foucault studies the strategies of the accumulation of men as the function of the problem of governance but what is seldom understood is that the problem of governance is treated by Foucault not in isolation but in relationship to the problem of the accumulation of capital. Thus the problem is not just of governance but of the type of governance that provides the space in which hindrances to capital accumulation are the least while the possibilities are being utilised to the maximum. Thus the problem is not just to produce ''docile'' bodies but the type of ''docile'' bodies, which are 'useful' too; ''docility'' is to maximise ''utility''. The type of ''docility'' that hampers ''utility'' is unacceptable. Thus the problem of governance in Foucault is the problem of the governance for capital accumulation. Foucault defines the purpose of 'disciplines', which are "the 'techniques' for assuring the ordering of multiplicities" and enhancing governance, as "to increase both the 'docility' and the 'utility' of all the elements of the system" (DP p. 218). Thus Foucault deals with the problem of accumulation of men and its relationship to the accumulation of capital so as to arrive at the conditions of the possibility and continued sustenance of capitalist accumulation.</P>
<P>Now to take your objections briefly:</P>
<P>[F]Foucault recognizes this parallel and is very explicit about not reducing <BR>the functioning of disciplinary society to capitalism.</P>
<P>Sure. But since Foucault's studies are histories (he is not developing a theory of disciplinary society as such), the sort of disciplinary societies he studies are capitalist societies (historically) and so he tries to understand conceptual (historically understood conceptuality) link between the historically situated disciplinary techniques and historically situated process of accumulation. </P>
<P>[F]  This has several <BR>problems 1) It leads ultimately a negative conception of power.</P>
<P>Now this is bit perplexing because Foucault in fact uses the essentially 'productive' character of capitalism to show the inadequacy of the negative conception of power.</P>
<P>[F] 2) Reduces <BR>the analysis of power to economic forces, unless you mean capitalism in a <BR>broader sense in which case we seem to need a better descriptive term. </P>
<P>Your caution about economic reductionism is correct.  I meant by capitalism an order/civilisation? and not just an economic system and hence the study of relation between the accumulation of men and accumulation of capital (relation and not reduction!). Right from MC Foucault portrays capitalism as a moral order and not just an economic system.</P>
<P>Hope it clarifies and thanks again<BR>regards<BR>ali<BR><BR><BR></P></DIV>
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