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Soc 235, Lecture 18

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Ron Jacobs

on 19 November 2014

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Transcript of Soc 235, Lecture 18

Main points from last lecture Too many theories of democracy begin from an idealized vision, then evaluate society against the ideal Idealized publics can never exist in the real world Even if they did, the “rational communication” they privilege is unequally distributed In real publics, the idealized vision exists as the sacred side of a binary discourse of civil society The meaning of the preferred terms is only possible by identification of their opposites inclusion always involves exclusion What if democracy and civil society is just a different form of power? Foucault, and the theory of discourse as power Today's reading on the new politics and the new forms
of disciplinary power Foucault on power Power is not something that is acquired or held by individuals; it is not something that can be “lost” Power is not the result of conscious actions or strategies of given individuals Power is productive as well as repressive Power is a “site”, created by discourse A discursive formation will include the identification of: those sources (texts) which will serve as the “official doctrine” the kinds of people who get to be expert interpreters of the doctrine the kinds of people who get to be official enforcers of the doctrine, and the methods of enforcement they should use the types of people and the types of behavior which constitute “normal” If power is everywhere, then so too are the terms of resistance all discourses have certain “silences”, i.e., things they do not address all discourses are imperfectly realized there are always multiple discourses operating at a given time, meaning that power is always somewhat unstable How does this help us to understand democracy and “real civil societies”? Civil society is not just a space that reacts against the power of the state
Creates its own forms of power/knowledge/discipline/subjectivity Civil society is not a neutral space, which people enter with fully-formed goals and interests what happens to people when they become citizens? Like other sites of power, civil society is simultaneously productive and repressive what are the elements of the new discourse, according to Rose? new forms of disciplinary power new forms of biopower global economy, need for skills and education no more big government solutions away from the image of the state as protector, toward a view of the state as a facilitator of civil society the new state is supposed to identify effective communities (broadly conceived) and encoruage their self-development welfare redefined as a lack of belonging, lack of engagement, lack of commitment to the right kind of behavior combined with a discourse of self-realization and self-making, grounded in consumption, lifestyle, and identity
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