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  • Writer's pictureBrett Darlington

Foucalt and The Struggles.

Michel Foucault begins The Subject and Power by laying out three modes by which a human is made into a subject. These are the modes of inquiry which shadow behind the legitimacy of the sciences; The Division of identity from others or within oneself; and subjectification. Throughout history people have found themselves struggling through these classifications which have been placed upon them in three main precedents of opposition. These oppositional stances come from an identity which they are raised to adopt as a method of individualism and therefore subjectification from which they inherited under the sovereign. The forms of struggle a civilization takes on are dependent on that which they find to be the most immediate threat to their identity. These forms of struggle are relative to the power relations that people find themselves in and can be any combination of the following: Domination by way of ethnic or religious means, Exploitation of labor and alienation of work, and or the struggle against subjection. Foucault emphasizes the struggle of subjectification in this work because it is a form which is proliferated under the state, and which is historically, a relatively new form of government. This struggle prevails more so now than any other time in history, due to the nature of the state and its institutional structure. This new structure of sovereignty which Foucault calls the Pastoral Power, is derived from the Christian church. This pastoral power is unlike historical systems of government because instead of the subjects being at the ultimate will of the sovereign or the state, the state is now at the ultimate will of the people. In short, this new form of sovereignty offers individualism as well as complete rule, which is a new system of government. Under the pretense of freedom, as in the liberty of expression for all identities, while also being a total governing force over people and therefore abdicating domination and apparent exploitation, the remaining opposition to subjectification of the people is left to be the prevailing struggle within the state.

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