Monday, October 30, 2006

Foucault and the local (to the rescue?)

Q:  What can be gained from scrutinizing one's own critical position / contextuality? Why is the corporate University a starting point--not as an end?

I just have to rely on and align myself with Foucault on this one.

A:  "Intellectuals have got used to working, not in the modality of the 'universal', the 'examplary', the just-and-true-for-all', but within specific sectors, at the precsie points where their own conditions of life or work situate them (housing, the hospital, the asylum, the laboratory, the university, family and sexaul relations).  This has undoubtedly given them a much more immediate and concrete awareness of struggles.  And they have met here with problems which are specific, 'non-universal', and often different from those of the proletariat or the masses.  And yet I believe intellectuals have actually been drawn closer to the proletariat and the masses, for two reasons.   Firstly, because it has been a question of real, material, everday struggles, and secondly because  they have often been confronted, albeit in a different form, by the same adversary as the proletariat, namely the multinational corporations..." (Power/Knowledge 126). 



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12 comments:

Donna said...

I too often look to Foucault for rescue from pesky questions like these. I'm particularly taken with his discussion of intellectual work in the introduction (or preface?) to one of the last two volumes of History of Sexuality, where he talks about the need to get beyond oneself, to free the mind from what it silently thinks. For me, that's an answer to the value of scrutinizing one's own critical position. To discover if it's possible to think otherwise.

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