• New book for 2010:

  • Pages

  • Top Posts

  • Recent Comments

    freja s p on What is the dispositif?…
    Il potere secondo Fo… on What is the dispositif?…
    “Problematize… on Key term: problematization
    Kieran on Foucault documentary available
    Rebecca on Key term: conduct of cond…
  • Archives

  • Stuff

  • Foucault on Twitter

  • Advertisements

Colin Wilson takes on Foucault

Colin Wilson offers the arguments against Foucault from a Marxist perspective:

Foucault’s ideas are radical but not Marxist, which helps explain his current prominence. His ideas fit a time when Marxists are a minority and non-Marxist radicals such as Noam Chomsky are greatly respected.

Foucault’s approach leads to some serious problems. He rightly rejected both capitalism and Stalinism. This was a necessary first step, but he never explained how ideas relate to the material reality of society – where ideas come from, or what role radical ideas can play in changing the world.

The closest he comes to an overall explanation of society is in his writings from the 1980s about “power”.

By “power” Foucault means all non-economic forms of social domination. But he describes power as existing everywhere – so you cannot say that one group of people has it and another does not. Foucault was right to stress the importance of non-economic factors, but his explanation is too vague to be useful.

He concludes:

There are serious political weaknesses in Foucault’s work. But many people are inspired by the radical side of his writing. He may not be easy to read – but what he does have to say is almost always thought provoking.

2 Responses

  1. Personally, I think it helps to merge “power” and “ideology,” as it seems, in my mind at least, Raymond Williams does with “hegemony.”

  2. “He may not be easy to read – but what he does have to say is almost always thought provoking.”

    The opposite of Colin Wilson, then 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: