I= FOUCAULT‚€™S CONCEPTION OF POWER: QUESTIONING THE RELEVANCE OF MARX
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Title of Thesis
FOUCAULT‚€™S CONCEPTION OF POWER: QUESTIONING THE RELEVANCE OF MARX

Author(s)
Zulfiqar Ali
Institute/University/Department Details
Department of Philosophy/ University of Karachi
Session
2006
Subject
Philosophy
Number of Pages
231
Keywords (Extracted from title, table of contents and abstract of thesis)
foucault‚€™s conception of power, marx, immanent critique, diagnostic critique, society

Abstract
The aim of this thesis is to see the relevance of some central concepts of Foucault specifically his concepts or "history", "power", "critique", "intellectual and struggle" in comparison with Marx's analysis of these concepts. Although the relevance of the Foucaultian investigations may be seen with multiple perspectives and with different objectives, here I would like to evaluate and determine how far these concepts in comparison with Marx are relevant for the understanding and the transformation of modem society.

Foucault claims that Marx's view of history is not a historical account of history. He emphasizes that "material conception of history" which, according to Foucault, is grounded upon the presumption of "subject" has to be abandoned for archaeology. The Foucaultian archaeology as not believing in the category of "subject" shows that the conceptions of "madness", "disease", "sexuality" and "punishment"' can not be the result of dialectical conflict. But are constituted by ‚€œdiscursive practices" that are neither subjective nor objective, nor economically determined or free. Foucault‚€™s notion of "practices" seriously questions the material conception of history and shows a space within a history and inside a culture from which a better understanding of historical events and of culture can be developed.

Foucault further observes that the modem power being disciplinary and bio-power cannot rightly be understood and cannot correctly be explained in Marxist terms. The modern power does not exclusively function through political institutions but operates through social, personal and self to self relationships. In the analysis of power "state" and "self-regulation" appear not to be the centers of power but instruments through which the modem power governs. Taking control of state institutions which is the sole objective of Marxist struggle seems to be a misguided strategy as for as the transformation of power relations are concerned.

For Foucault "immanent critique" that has been carried out by Marx does not pose serious threat to capitalism because it questions capitalism on the standards given by capitalism itself. In contrast to immanent critique Foucault introduces.' diagnostic critique" that historically challenges fundamental norms and presumptions on which the modem power governs individuals.

Marx seems to be convinced that only a "global struggle' motivated by intellectuals that universally represent humanity can overthrow capitalism. Foucault sees no grounds for politically shaping the will of people and calling for global struggle against capitalism. He feels that the intellectuals should only provide tools, not prescribes suggestions, and must engage specifically where their works situate them. This seems to be the only route through which the functioning of the modern power can seriously be challenged and it may hopefully make way to those power relations that offer much more liberty to individuals.

Download Full Thesis
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S. No. Chapter Title of the Chapters Page Size (KB)
1 0 Contents
555.06 KB
2 1 Foucault‚€™s Critique Of Marx‚€™s View Of History
2025.33 KB
  1.1 Marx‚€™ Material Conception Of History 1
  1.2 Marx‚€™s Response To Marx‚€™s View Of History 22
3 3 Foucault‚€™s Refutation Of Marxist Conception Of Critique 137
1112.49 KB
  3.1 Marx‚€™s Conception Of Critique
  3.2 Foucault‚€™s Rejection Of Marx‚€™s View Of Critique 150
4 4 Foucault‚€™s Critique Of Marx‚€™s Conception Of Struggle And Intellectual 176
841.77 KB
  4.1 Marx‚€™s Conception Of Struggle And Role Of Intellectual
  4.2 Foucault‚€™s Critique Of Marx‚€™s View Of Intellectual And Struggle 183
5 5 Conclusion 206
308.05 KB
6 6 Questioning The Relevance Of Marxist Framework For The Understanding Transformation Of Society 217
315.9 KB
  6.1 Bibliography