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Soc 235, Lecture 18

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Ron Jacobs

on 27 April 2017

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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
consumption, lifestyle,
innovation, entrepreneurship
therapy, medicalization/drugs
genetic models, neural models
Full transcript