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.
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.