The Subject and Power Author(s): Michel Foucault Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Summer, 1982), pp. 777-795 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343197 . Accessed: 26/09/2011 07:49
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They used and extended mechanisms already present in most other societies. More than that: in spite of their own internal madness, they used to a large extent the ideas and the devices of our political rationality. What we need is a new economy of power relations-the word "economy" being used in its theoretical and practical sense. To put it in other words: since Kant, the role of philosophy is to prevent reason from going beyond the limits of what is given in experience; but from the same moment-that is, since the development of the modern state and the political management of society-the role of philosophy is also to keep watch over the excessive powers of political rationality, which is a rather high expectation. Everybody is aware of such banal facts. But the fact that they're banal does not mean they don't exist. What we have to do with banal facts is to discover-or try to discover-which specific and perhaps original problem is connected with them. The relationship between rationalization and excesses of political power is evident. And we should not need to wait for bureaucracy or concentration camps to recognize the existence of such relations. But the problem is: What to do with such an evident fact? Shall we try reason? To my mind, nothing would be more sterile. First, because the field has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Second, because it is senseless to refer