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Power Knowledge : Selected Interviews And Other... \/\/FREE\\\\

Now, in this superb set of essays and interviews, Foucault has provided a much-needed guide to Foucault. These pieces, ranging over the entire spectrum of his concerns, enabled Foucault, in his most intimate and accessible voice, to interpret the conclusions of his research in each area and to demonstrate the contribution of each to the magnificent -- and terrifying -- portrait of society that he was patiently compiling. For, as Foucault shows, what he was always describing was the nature of power in society; not the conventional treatment of power that concentrates on powerful individuals and repressive institutions, but the much more pervasive and insidious mechanisms by which power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives" Foucault's investigations of prisons, schools, barracks, hospitals, factories, cities, lodgings, families, and other organized forms of social life are each a segment of one of the most astonishing intellectual enterprises of all time -- and, as this book proves, one which possesses profound implications for understanding the social control of our bodies and our minds.

Power knowledge : selected interviews and other...


In critical theory, power-knowledge is a term introduced by the French philosopher Michel Foucault (French: le savoir-pouvoir). According to Foucault's understanding, power is based on knowledge and makes use of knowledge; on the other hand, power reproduces knowledge by shaping it in accordance with its anonymous intentions.[1] Power (re-) creates its own fields of exercise through knowledge.

In the field of political economy, Harold Innis wrote extensively on the "monopoly of knowledge",[5] in which empires over the history exploited information and communication resources to produce exclusive knowledge and power.

Foucault incorporated mutuality into his neologism power-knowledge, the most important part of which is the hyphen that links the two aspects of the integrated concept together (and alludes to their inherent inextricability).

Through a series of historical analyses, Foucault proposed a radical reworking of traditional conceptions of both power and knowledge (see Traditional Debates below) and argued that power must be conceptualized as having a productive function, that it in fact constitutes an entire productive network running through society, and that mechanisms of power cannot be dissociated from the production of knowledge.

Above all else, Michel Foucault believed in the freedom of people. He also realized that as individuals, we react to situations in different ways. His used his books as a vehicle to show the various factors that interact and collide in his analyzation of change and its effects. As a philosophical historian and an observer of human relations, his work focused on the dominant genealogical and archaeological knowledge systems and practices, tracking them through different historical eras, including the social contexts that were in place that permitted change - the nature of power in society. He wrote that power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives" (Foucault 1980,30).

Along with other social theorists, Foucault believed that knowledge is always a form of power, but he took it a step further and told us that knowledge can be gained from power; producing it, not preventing it. Through observation, new knowledge is produced. In his view, knowledge is forever connected to power, and often wrote them in this way: power/knowledge. Foucault's theory states that knowledge is power:

One of the techniques/regulatory modes of power/knowledge that Foucault cited was the Panopticon, an architectural design put forth by Jeremy Bentham in the mid-19th Century for prisons, insane asylums, schools, hospitals, and factories. Instead of using violent methods, such as torture, and placing prisoners in dungeons that were used for centuries in monarchial states around the world, the progressive modern democratic state needed a different sort of system to regulate its citizens. The Panopticon offered a powerful and sophisticated internalized coercion, which was achieved through the constant observation of prisoners, each separated from the other, allowing no interaction, no communication. This modern structure would allow guards to continually see inside each cell from their vantage point in a high central tower, unseen by the prisoners. Constant observation acted as a control mechanism; a consciousness of constant surveillance is internalized.

The Panopticon was a metaphor that allowed Foucault to explore the relationship between 1.) systems of social control and people in a disciplinary situation and, 2.) the power-knowledge concept. In his view, power and knowledge comes from observing others. It marked the transition to a disciplinary power, with every movement supervised and all events recorded. The result of this surveillance is acceptance of regulations and docility - a normalization of sorts, stemming from the threat of discipline. Suitable behaviour is achieved not through total surveillance, but by panoptic discipline and inducing a population to conform by the internalization of this reality. The actions of the observer are based upon this monitoring and the behaviours he sees exhibited; the more one observes, the more powerful one becomes. The power comes from the knowledge the observer has accumulated from his observations of actions in a circular fashion, with knowledge and power reinforcing each other. Foucault says that "by being combined and generalized, they attained a level at which the formation of knowledge and the increase in power regularly reinforce one another in a circular process" (Foucault 1977).

For Foucault, the real danger was not necessarily that individuals are repressed by the social order but that they are "carefully fabricated in it" (Foucault, 1977), and because there is a penetration of power into the behaviour of individuals. Power becomes more efficient through the mechanisms of observation, with knowledge following suit, always in search of "new objects of knowledge over all the surfaces on which power is exercised" (Foucault 1977).

When only certain people or groups of people control knowledge, oppression is a possibility. We need to find out who is recording our actions. At least then we will know who has power and who doesn't.

But what happens to all the knowledge that is collected through mechanisms of power? Isn't that the most important question? Foucault painted us a picture but left it up to us to create a process for resistance, and to figure out how to resolve conflicts ourselves. He gave us instruments of analysis, but offered no weapons.

Can we mobilize counter-power to form a resistance against the pervasiveness of an increasingly intrusive electronic society that is trying to manage the information it is tracking and collecting? Can we wage our own battles and develop some strategies to help us retain a semblance of individual anonymity and privacy? Can we develop our own system of power/knowledge as a form of resistance? Or should we just surrender to it? Surrender to the unseen power that endeavours to control us from afar? Or should we continue to adapt and submissively, quietly accept the prevailing philosophy of an increasingly monitored society? Or should we try to overcome?

Foucault (1980, pp. 109-133) puts the emphasis on how some narratives through knowledge-power relations become dominant, whereas Bourdieu (2014, pp. 162-175) highlights the ways how those narratives of power through share meanings become part of the social body. Thus, knowledge-power and discourses are linked and through different channels of communications need to be reproduced. Castells (2007, pp. 240-243; Castells, 2013, pp. 10-53) argues that political communication as a means to create a social narrative and action has changed dramatically by the emergence of social media. The typical channels of communication such as mass media (newspapers, TV, radio) no longer have the monopoly of being gatekeepers or intermediate filters of news and narratives between politicians and society; social media has provided new means of direct network communication between politics and society, often bypassing traditional media. This new venue has changed dramatically how narratives are being produced, reproduced and contested. The election of Trump, due to the peculiar electoral college and despite the fact that obtained fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, is an example of the power of social media as a mean to disseminate a narrative of differentiation that a considerable percentage of the social corpus accepted; the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico being a centerpiece of this narrative that reinforces symbolic borders. The traditional truth standards of mass media reporting based on fact checking and ethics of objective communication are confronted with other channels of mass communication (e.g. Fox News), such as social media (Breitbart News Network) where people look for opinions, of like-minded networks, to reinforce their views become accepted facts and present an alternative narrative and reality to the traditional mass media.

Flyvbjerg (2001, pp. 53-65) proposes four questions that are relevant to operationalize phronesis as a methodological research strategy. The questions are: Where are we heading? Who wins and who loses and through which means of power? Is it desirable? What can be done? This section employs those questions as a way to organize the discussion around the issue of practical knowledge and communication powers.

So far the analysis has focused on how power and knowledge where the border becomes an object that is socially constructed through the power of deliberation. Thus, it is important to reflect on the issue of communications power, using Castells (2007; Castells, 2013, pp. 10-53) theoretical framework, to explain how knowledge is produced and facts are being deliberated and disseminated to shape a border reality; in short, the border is a socially contested object. Barack Obama was one of the first to show the power of social media as a tool to build an organization and raise money capable of electing a president. The election of Trump, as the U.S. president, just reaffirmed the role of social media (tweeter) as an important deliberation instrument and communications power to shape a border narrative; and the electoral arena is a way to settle which one is more convincing. 041b061a72

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