Foucault Power Analysis Research Paper

Foucault’s middle period is characterized by analyses of power: the structure of power within society and its distribution, and the way relations of power unfold. The problem is that Foucault seems to imply that all social phenomena, from education, law, policing, discipline, governance (the institutions that form society’s infrastructure), the apparatuses that engender and affect cultural and familial life, are reducible to an analysis of the relations of power operating within. Power is described as ubiquitous and embedded within the social fabric, so that there is no society without conflicts of power relations. If this is the case, then the effects of power are inescapable and inexorable. This raises the question of what there is to be…

Questions such as, ‘In what context, and manner, can analyses of power-relations be grounded?’, ‘What is Foucault’s definition of power?’, ‘How is this power wielded, and by whom?’, and ‘What are the positive and negative consequences of this power?’, ‘What role does resistance play in power-relations?’, will be subject to investigation. From this, it will be shown that Foucault’s position is ultimately one of disconcertion but incoherence, this being supplemented by corroborating evidence from secondary sources. Furthermore, the aim of Foucault’s project itself will be subject to critique in order to determine if there is any practical…

It is important to note the fact that power is not some stagnant thing that has remained invariable throughout human history. Power itself is intangible, incorporeal, and insubstantial, but it is evident from the effects it has on bodies. In The History of Sexuality, Foucault attempts to elucidate what power is. Power is not an institution, a structure of society, nor a strength/capability with which the human race is endowed; power is instead the name of the phenomenon of the complex strategic relations that constitute a particular society. This is to say that Foucault is not comfortable with reducing an explanation of power-relations to one group asserting dominance over another, subjecting the other to domination thereby ensuring subservience. Thus, the sovereignty of the state, the form of the law, and the appearance of a unity in domination are simply effects of power-relations and not inherent in power itself. These are not power proper, but the terminal configuration in which power has manifested. What is most important to note, however, is that power becomes solidified when it dominates. Without somebody receiving the impact of force, there is no power. It is in this way that power is constituted first and foremost, and necessarily, in a relationship. Foucault writes, “Power’s condi¬tion of…