The phenomena of Christian blogs

One of the purposes of this blog stated at the outset was to cover the many ways in which Foucault is worked through on a daily basis. Without resorting to academic expositions of positions long held, what are the everyday ways in which Foucault is taken up, disputed and used?

This has been a learning experience for me too. One of the surprises for me (which in retrospect seems obvious now) is the interest in Foucault from self-identified Christian blogs (I’ve linked to them before).

I don’t know if this is a meaningful category (WordPress has you choose categories for each post!) or just various people around the world. The interest in Foucault varies from his work on the early church, to the sexuality writings, to confession.

Here for example are some recent entries from a blog called Sight Unseen on the HoS Vol. 1 where he provides a summary. Then today this one on confession.

I’ve noted the irony of posting this on a blog, but it seems we’ve become a society addicted to confession. Confession is the silent partner in the modern pantheon of knowledge. We pay lip service to Scientific Empiricism, but when we seek to know the truths of ourselves we confess them to another. Pyschiatry, Blogging, the Gay “coming out”.

Addicted to confession–no doubt, given the daily talk shows such as Oprah etc. Why this addiction? Is it, as the author suggests, because it’s about the only real topic we care about (ourselves)? That doesn’t seem quite right. There are many ways to practice the self without confession, as Foucault pointed out (self-creation, self-writing, technologies of the self in one’s relations to others etc, that were the subject of his very last lectures on parrhesia).
This is a weakness that one can sometimes detect in Foucault. After describing with vigor and clarity the effects of certain practices, the question remains why they are practiced at that time–or indeed are still practiced.


2 Responses

  1. Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for the quote and the questions. I’ve not come across your sight before but it looks some great reading.

    “Why this addiction? Is it, as the author suggests, because it’s about the only real topic we care about (ourselves)? That doesn’t seem quite right.”

    A point of clarification: it is self-knowledge that is the only topic we really care about. I think the reasons for this are fairly basic.
    Why confession as the prevalent form of self-knowledge? As you pointed out, there are plenty of other ways to practice the self.

    Confession is about agreement, it’s the self’s cooberation of the judgement of another.
    ‘Confession’, when it operates as the truth about ourselves, asks us to be complicit in the adoption of a self given to us by another.
    Fascinating when you think about this within the framework of Christian repentance and faith but potentially terrifying in the hands of a secular power. (from my perspective).
    Confession binds together revelation and submission so that one only comes to know the truth of oneself as you accept the judgement of the Other.

  2. Sorry, was incorrectly logged in above.

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