Foucault's Influence Of Power Relationships In Modern Society

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In this paper I will argue Foucault’s position on power relationships, and what this draws out about Pancrace’s decision in participating the genocide. Finally, I will give my own argument about the influence of culture ought to have on individuals in the modern society.
Power relation “Rather than speaking of an essential antagonism, it would be better to speak of an ‘agonism’ of a relationship that is at the same time mutual incitement and struggle” (4). According to Foucault, power relations are the mutual “struggle” (4) between both sides. It is noteworthy to understand that the “struggle” (4) is the mutual “incitement” (4) of two sides, a benign provocation that helps both sides to realize their goals in a relationship instead of a mean-spirited
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Since I continuously seek to control over someone else in certain matters and take dependence under someone else, I cannot escape from some sort of power relations if I want to survive and succeed in this modern world. To be a subject means to act on someone else, and to influence others’ action through my own actions. Foucault emphasizes that there are things I should and should not contribute into a power relation. Power relations are inheritably dangerous, therefore, do what I should do in a power relation influences it in a positive way and there are disastrous results if I fail to do so. According to Foucault, I must be learn and practice “refusal, curiosity and innovation” (6) in order to positively contribute to a power relation. He then goes on to define these terms. Refusal means refuse “to accept as self-evident the things that are proposed to us” (6). Innovation is “to seek out in our reflection those things that have never been thought or imagined (6). Curiosity is “the need to analyze and to know” (6). To learn about refusal, I need to be …show more content…
In the Chapter “Hatred of the Tutsis”, he says “Right, let’s go hunting!” in response to the order of killing of the Tutsis (216, Hatzfeld). This shows the lack of refusal and curiosity. Here the authorities present an argument to Pancrace that “a threat lurking in the feeblest and kindest Tutsi” (216, Hatzfeld). As a result, he takes it as the obvious truth and went on the killing streak instead of treating it critically first, closely examine the situation and come up with his own belief regarding the issue. In the prior chapter named “Apprenticeship”, Pancrace introduces another situation that resembles what Foucault describes as the state of domination. When the state of domination occurs, power relations no longer exist because one side has total power over another and the dynamic between them is rid of freedom. Here Pancrace introduces the people known as “interahammwe”, who “guide people in their first steps” and essentially teaches them how to kill (56, Hatzfeld). He suggests that these people are kind men who patiently teach participants of the genocide the means of killing when in fact they are not logically examining the situation thus destroying the power relation. These participants passively accept what they were told and continue on

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