Essay on Foucault 's Views On Political Theory

2133 Words Dec 2nd, 2016 9 Pages
Michel Foucault claimed, ‘Political theory has never ceased to be obsessed with the person of the sovereign’ (Foucault and Gordon, 1980). In saying this, he critiques Western political thought for the focus scholars have collectively held on sovereign power, or the ‘macro-level’ consisting of governmental figures and institutions in formal power over a nation-state. In The Politics of Truth he elaborates:
It seems to me that there has been in the modern Western world … a certain way of thinking, speaking, and acting, a certain relationship to what exists, to what one knows, to what one does, a relationship to society, to culture and also a relationship to others that we could call, let’s say, the critical attitude (Foucault, Rajchman, Hochroth and Porter, 2007).

This ‘certain attitude’ is the previously unquestioned devotion of political theory of power as an object to possess and use, most significantly by the state and its leaders over a populace. The core of Foucault’s alternate view is that ‘power is ubiquitous’: it is relations, not an object, that is diffused throughout all levels of society (Hay, 2002).

Power to Foucault is a relation that is not an oppressive means of control or force the State possesses establish its legitimate authority but an omnipresent part of life. In Foucault’s definition of power, power cannot be negative thing—in encompassing all the interactions of daily life it is both to broad to be held solely as negative and is the path in which…

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