This chapter begins with three of Sigmund Freud's 'case-histories': Dora, diagnosed as hysterical; Schreber, a paranoid schizophrenic, and the Wolf Man (a case of infantile neurosis), in order to approach Jacques Lacan on paranoia and psychosis. Commenting on Dora, who was neurotic, and non-psychotic, Lacan says that psychosis requires 'disturbances of language', which makes it exceed paranoia. Freud makes Schreber an instance of paranoia, using for evidence, virtually, only the Memoirs, which he reads as a text. He examines his hypochondria, and feelings of being persecuted by certain people including Flechsig, the 'soul-murderer', and his delusional ideas, including believing that he had direct contact with God. The difference between Freud and Michel Foucault becomes key to reading modern literature. It seems that madness becomes not a danger for the writer but a condition that attends writing, as though writing had become madness, a marker of alienation.
This book explores the nature and workings of social and political power through four dimensions, which throw into relief different aspects of power-related phenomena. The analysis constitutes a sophisticated new framework that builds upon contemporary theoretical perspectives of power, including the work of Steven Lukes, Michel Foucault, Amy Allen, Clarissa Rile Hayward, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, Stewart Clegg, James Scott and Gene Sharp. The first dimension of power concerns agency between actors, including analysis of coercion, violence and authority. The second dimension involves structural bias, conflict and resistance, including both revolutionary and non-violent resistance. The third dimension concerns tacit knowledge, uses of truth and reification. This book moves beyond critique of ideology, developing Foucauldian theories of power/knowledge without nihilistic relativism by distinguishing different types of truth claim. The fourth dimension concerns the power to create social subjects, drawing both on genealogical theory, Norbert Elias on restraint and Orlando Patterson on social death in slavery. Haugaard distinguishes sociological from normative claims. While the four dimensions stem from sociological theory, the book concludes with a normative pragmatist power-based political theory of democracy and rights. This has significant implications for critiques of contemporary populism and neoliberalism. The book is theoretically sophisticated, yet written in an accessible style. Theory is explained using vivid empirical examples. Its originality makes it a ‘must-read’ for postgraduates and academics in the field. Yet, it is ideal for higher-level undergraduates and MAs, as a paradigmatic text on power. It is also indispensable for activists who wish to understand domination, resistance and empowerment.
What is the future for radical politics in an age that proclaims itself to be not only post-ideological but post-political as well? There are three fundamental and, in some ways, contradictory conditions that radical political theory must contend with today: the so-called ‘war on terror’, the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement, and the stifling atmosphere of consensus and centrism that so dominates modern democratic politics. This book examines and critically appraises the ideas of a number of key thinkers, including Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, who have all had a strong impact on radical political theory and represent a broad range of theoretical perspectives such as poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, post-Marxism, and autonomism. It discusses the points of intersection and divergence amongst these various thinkers on questions that are central to radical political theory today: power and ideology, subjectivity, ethics, democracy and collective action. Forming a background to these debates and issues will be the question of universality, and the extent to which these various interventions allow for some sort of universal, emancipative dimension to be realised.
This chapter takes as its point of departure the condition of the subject under power, exploring the problem of self-domination or self-subjection: the way that the subject, rather than simply being coerced or repressed, often willingly conforms to the very identities and subject ‘positions’ that have been constructed for him. This creates certain problems for radical politics, however: there is no longer a universal human subject to be emancipated or a completely autonomous conception of human agency. The chapter explores a number of different responses to this crisis of the ‘death of Man’: Michel Foucault's strategies of self-mastery and autonomy through the ethic of ‘care’; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's attack on Oedipal subjectivity, and their Nietzschean dispersal of the very category of subject into a multitude of forces, potentialities and moments of flux. Using Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, the chapter tries to develop a new understanding of political subjectification — one that involves at the same time a rupturing of existing identities and subject positions.
Chapter 2 provides the theoretical framework for the book’s empirical analysis and clarifies a number of theoretical and conceptual tools that are central to this book’s objectives and contributions. Power and security are two such concepts, and the chapter begins by clarifying the conceptualisation of power outlined by Michel Foucault that is adopted in this study by elaborating upon one of his ideas: power/knowledge. From here the chapter hones in on the ‘third modality’ of power, that of governmentality, to demonstrate how this functions across society and the role that the security dispositif plays in allowing this form of power to function. Prior to embarking on the empirical analysis, this chapter’s final section ties together the work on power, governance and security with established work on both ‘epistemic communities’ and ‘security professionals’. I elaborate on these theorisations to link the productive functioning of power with the role particular ‘privileged’ experts play within the dispositif to give meaning to the phenomenon of security, sediment certain understandings, prioritise particular responses and foreclose alternative thinking. It is in this final section where I most explicitly make the argument for the need to conduct constructivist research into private security industry discourse.
Conventions, reification, the sacred and essentialism
This chapter continues the analysis of three-dimensional power and focusses upon processes whereby epistemic hegemony is maintained by obscuring the social construction of the order of things or social structures. The chapter opens by theoretically refuting a common misperception, which is that the conventionality (or the social constructedness of social structures) entails that they are arbitrary, which is an assumption that underpins justifications of reification. This is followed by an account of reification, which is theorized as a process of misrecognition whereby social actors are made to believe that social structures have some kind of essence that transcends social construction. Reification accords with the natural attitude, whereby the world is meaning-given. Following Michel Foucault, critique is theorized as the capacity to understand that which was made, or socially constructed, can be unmade. In contrast, in domination through reification structures cannot be unmade, because they are misperceived as never having been made in the first place. Reification through the sacred and profane is explored, linking to charismatic authority. The chapter concludes with essentialist forms of reification, including racism, patriarchy and orientalism.
Conversation, friendship and democratic possibilities
This chapter foregrounds my approach to ethics as a ‘new’ ethnographic object. I show how an attentive ethnographic sensibility can uncover forms of interpersonal relationality, which diverge from a politics of interminable opposition. Learning from Veena Das’ work, I turn away from the most visible campus ‘events’ and toward a seemingly mundane student meeting in order to address the following question: how, in a politically polarised context, do friendships and alternative sociabilities become possible? I offer an ethnographic account of a small scale gathering of students involved in an ‘Israel-Palestine Forum’ at Redbrick University. Tracing the interpersonal and institutional conditions of this meeting, I show how its participants cultivated practices of speaking and listening, which enabled us to engage with each other as uncertain, ambivalent and fragmented subjects. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s ethics of ‘parrhesia’ and Stanley Cavell’s insights into the pedagogic dimensions of democratic relationships, I explore how risk-taking, trust and singular friendships enabled the tragic histories of Palestine-Israel to be spoken and reflected upon. The chapter concludes with some comparative insights in relation to my three fieldsites, highlighting how the differential impacts of socio-economic changes to higher education can limit these democratic possibilities within campuses.
The names of MichelFoucault and
William Shakespeare are linked in many ways. Following the influence
of new historicism, Foucault has had a significant impact in
Shakespeare studies. Many themes in Foucault’s work, from
power, sexuality, madness, disease, and government, resonate with
aspects of Shakespeare’s plays. The potential for using
him makes lives visible, simply, so that they can fashion
Epilogue: Foucault’s peripeties
Some years ago now, David
Halperin wrote, ‘[a]ll of us who write about the life
or thought of MichelFoucault are embarrassed – though
evidently not sufficiently embarrassed – by the implicit
contradiction between Foucault’s critical
the places we
can ‘plug in’, learn how things have been played, and
practice playing them, playing ourselves, otherwise.
MichelFoucault , ‘ Interview with MichelFoucault ’, in James D.
Faubion (ed.), Power , Vol. 3, The Essential Works of Foucault