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More Cede the Political :)

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can you run this on foucault?

 

Huh? You do realize Foucault says more than one thing, right?

 

But yes, you can run cede the political args against basically any K that doesn't engage the state. Whether these args are good or not is a separate question.

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Guest tl dr
That seems a bit smug. Just saying....

 

 

his response was appropriately smug, given the nature of the question.

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just to keep the smugness going, foucault engaged the state, on several occasions in fact.

 

_

http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1031607&postcount=21

http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1742981&postcount=5

http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2009-April/078518.html

Edited by Lazzarone

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just to keep the smugness going, foucault engaged the state, on several occasions in fact.

I'm engaged to the state. Bit of a shotgun wedding, to be honest.

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Oh, certainly- I didn't mean to convey the impression that Foucault himself didn't engage the state. But since when did what Foucault ACTUALLY thought matter for debaters? :)

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can you run this on foucault?

 

Sure, you can. But, if it will hold much traction depends on the link/alt from the other team. In many cases, they could certainly say there is nothing about the state that their K is critiquing.

 

Someone like Agamben would work much better against.

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Scu,

 

Are you pointing out that Foucault wouldn't always decrease net-power structures? (wheres perhaps Agamben is slightly more totalizing in his critique of sovereinty and ultimately the state) (sp)

 

Just curious,

Nathan

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I am not entirely sure what you mean.

 

I mean that for Foucault, it certainly would be possible to make demands upon the state, it would be possible to engage the state, etc. Not to mention that he would certainly also support the political as something outside of the state. In you check out his lectures in The Birth of Biopolitics, he rails against those who practice state-phobia (the tea party people being a more recent example). Now, this isn't to say that he remains uncritical of the state, and or doesn't theorize about the state (despite some weird claims he made to the contrary), or that he is pro-state (I doubt there is anyway he is). But just because one remains anti-state long term, certainly does not mean you cede the political! And when you read The Birth of Biopolitics you read how state-phobia is used as a way of supporting neo-liberal politics. That we are told to cede the political in favor of putting ourselves in only the economic.

 

Agamben's philosophy seems premised on ceding the political. Agamben remains completely suspicious of all the great projects of the 20th century. I think for him it is time for us to abandon all of that. Also, there is no way you can have anything like a state acting in manners that Agamben seems to support. Always lurking in the state actions is a secret solidarity with fascism. Every political project carries with the whiff of the Camp.

 

This is what I meant when I said it depends on how the neg is spinning their Foucault if ceding the political is truly responsive. Though, I think it is always responsive to Agamben Ks (though of course, Agamben's own work would directly challenge the cede the political cards).

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some notes by jodi dean on the foucault lectures james cited - 'the birth of biopolitics'...

 

Foucault begins his January 31 lecture with the idea of state-phobia. A certain fear of the state, he points out, is characteristic of the moment in which he is writing, of 'contemporary themes' the most pronounced of which involves fear of the atomic bomb. State-phobia is a sign or symptom of the crises of governmentality that seem inextricable from liberalism, whether the liberalism emerging in the middle of the 18th century or the liberalism of 1979. Thus, Foucault does not take up state-phobia directly but rather in terms of governmentality. This discussion will take him to the emergence of neoliberalism as a reaction [formation] to a generalized mistrust [anxiety] regarding the state.

 

1. Not taking up state-phobia directly makes sense since for Foucault

 

the state does not have an essence. The state is not a universal nor in itself an autonomous source of power. The state is nothing else but the effect, the profile, the mobile shape of a perpetual statification or statifications, in the sense of incessant transactions which modify, or move, or drastically change, or insidiously shift sources of finance, modes of investment, decision-making centers, forms and types of control ... it has no heart in the sense that it has no interior. The state is nothing else but the mobile effect of a regime of multiple governmentalities.

 

So the state is not an institution. It is not an arrangement of sovereignty. It is not a constant in a territory or with respect to a constitution or population. It is an effect and a mobile one at that. It is an effect of governmentalities which we might understand as techniques of production, incitement, channeling, and repression. (It's almost as if the state were a drive, that is, an assemblage around source, pressure, object, and aim.) To analyze anxiety about the state, then, Foucault does not approach it as such, as a something that exists, but in terms of what causes it as an effect, namely, governmentality.

 

: http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2009/01/the-birth-of-biopolitics-3-statephobia.html

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The third inflationary mechanism is 'the elision of actuality.' What is striking in Foucault's discussion here is both his psychoanalytic language and the hints that he might have in mind a direct critique of Deleuze (and Guattari, I think from 1000 Plateaus? It was originally published the following year, 1980, so presumably the arguments were in the air).

 

The third factor, the third inflationary mechanism, which seems to me to be characteristic of this type of analysis, is that it enables one to avoid paying the price of reality and actuality inasmuch as, in the name of this dynamism of the state, something like a kinship or danger, something like the great fantasy of the paranoiac and devouring state can always be found. To this extent, ultimately it hardly matters what one's grasp of reality is or what profile of actuality reality presents. It is enough, through suspicion and, as Francois Ewald would say, 'denunciation,' to find something like the fantastical profile of the state and there is no longer any need to analyze actuality.

 

[a few pages later]

 

what I think we should not do is imagine we are describing a real, actual process concerning ourselves when we denounce the growth of state control, or the state becoming fascist, or the establishment of state violence, and so on. All those who share in the great state phobia should know that they are following the direction of the wind and that in fact, for years and years, an effective reduction of the state has been on the way . . .I am saying that we should not delude ourselves by attributing to the state itself a process of becoming fascist which is actually exogenous and due much more to the state's reduction and dislocation.

 

Differently put, Foucault is accusing the state-phobics of indulging in paranoid delusions. A fantasy of the state as a devouring (mother) Thing stands in for an actual analysis of the mechanisms, flows, movements, and effects that are the state. The state is not expanding--other governmentalities are expanding, spreading, intensifying.

 

d. State-phobics avoid considering the 'real source of this kind of anti-state suspicion.' It's not new in the 60s and 70s. It was already in play in . The 'real source' is neoliberalism-ordoliberalism and its internal debates and efforts to establish itself:

 

You find this critique of the polymorphous, omnipresent, and all-powerful state in these years when, liberalism or neoliberalism, or even more precisely, ordoliberalism was engaged in distinguishing itself from the Keynesian critique and at the same time undertaking the critique of the New Deal and Popular Front policies of state control and intervention...or, in a word, of socialism generally.

 

4. In contrast to the inflationary critique of the state, Foucault presents the following theses:

 

a. The welfare state has neither the same form or root or origin of the Nazi, fascist, or Stalinist state.

 

b. The characteristic feature of the 'totalitarian' state is a limitation or subordination of the autonomy of the state in relation to the party. This means, then, that the characteristic feature of the totalitarian state is a non-state governmentality, again, the governmentality of the party.

 

c. The state is not expanding; it is being reducing. The other form of reduction (in addition to the party) is in the attempt to find a liberal governmentality (such as the attempt of the ordoliberals).

 

: http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2009/01/the-birth-of-biopolitics-4-statephobia-and-us-neoliberalism.html

_

 

this indirectly replies to the sweep of agamben's work, which one could use foucault to characterize as "the great fantasy of the paranoiac", one that "avoid paying the price of reality". in a nutshell, foucault nominalizes the state ("The state is not a universal... The state is nothing else but the mobile effect of a regime of multiple governmentalities"), whereas agamben essentializes the state as totalitarian - a move foucault critiques as 'inflationary'.

 

that very last bit (4.a.) also explicitly agrees with dickinson's argument here: http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=994357 - decisively answering the question, i'd think, of whether the dickinson card applies to foucauldian kritiks.

 

(oh, and contrary to dean's suggestion that foucault's lecture answers deleuze's work with guattari, their idea that a state isn't essentially warlike but appropriates an autonomous war machine conforms precisely to foucault's idea that, in totalitarian regimes, an autonomous party takes over the state. d&g make their essentialism so absurdly universal ('there has only ever been one state') that they end up coming back to focus primarily on micro-politics - hence the concept of 'micro-fascism'. again i think foucault and deleuze (with guattari) get to the same place by different conceptual means; i fail to see how they're contradicting each other.)

Edited by Lazzarone

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