Foucault s theory of discourse and power is the relation between discourse knowledge and power

He argues that power is immanent in all social relations and that all social relations are relations of power, whether in family or in the hierarchies of government and others social institutions. The surveillance was coded as a discourse, a terrain of thought, a system of knowledge, a particular kind of language that allowed some things to be said and disallowed some others. He is interested in the historical dimension of discursive change. Madness and CivilizationThe Birth of the ClinicDiscipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality show that various forms of knowledge about sex, crime, psychiatry have arisen and been replaced.

Foucault s theory of discourse and power is the relation between discourse knowledge and power

Power for Foucault is what makes us what we are, operating on a quite different level from other theories: And it induces regular effects of power.

Foucault s theory of discourse and power is the relation between discourse knowledge and power

Foucault is one of the few writers on power who recognise that power is not just a negative, coercive or repressive thing that forces us to do things against our wishes, but can also be a necessary, productive and positive force in society Gaventa In fact power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth.

Power is also a major source of social discipline and conformity. Their systems of surveillance and assessment no longer required force or violence, as people learned to discipline themselves and behave in expected ways.

Foucault was fascinated by the mechanisms of prison surveillance, school discipline, systems for the administration and control of populations, and the promotion of norms about bodily conduct, including sex.

Foucault s theory of discourse and power is the relation between discourse knowledge and power

He studied psychology, medicine and criminology and their roles as bodies of knowledge that define norms of behaviour and deviance. This is why state-centric power struggles, including revolutions, do not always lead to change in the social order.

But he has been hugely influential in pointing to the ways that norms can be so embedded as to be beyond our perception — causing us to discipline ourselves without any wilful coercion from others.

Contrary to many interpretations, Foucault believed in possibilities for action and resistance. At a the level of practice, activists and practitioners use methods of discourse analysis to identify normative aid language that needs more careful scrutiny, and to shape alternative framings.

Thanks to Jonathan Gaventa for his contributions to this section.

Related resources

References for further reading Foucault, M. Foucault, Michel The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge, London, Penguin. Gaventa, John Power after Lukes: Institute of Development Studies.

Rabinow, Paul editor The Foulcault Reader:They are opposed to the effects of power through the use or abuse of knowledge, competence, and secrecy, in other words, they are a fight against the privileges of knowledge.

“What is questioned is the way in which knowledge circulates and functions, in relations to power” (Foucault, p. ). Start studying Foucault Discourse. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. • Foucault develops the idea of power/knowledge as combining these two.

- Foucault refuses the "repression hypothesis" of Marxism and critical theory that . Foucault thus provides us with a powerful model for thinking about how to fight oppression when one sees it: "the analysis, elaboration, and bringing into question of power relations and the 'agonism' between power relations and the intransitivity of freedom is .

DISCOURSE: In Relation To Postmodernism And Foucault’s Theory On Discourse. ‘Power, Knowledge and Discourse,’ he mainly focuses on the relation between power and knowledge. He links power to the formation of discourse. He marks the shift of attention from language to discourse.

Feb 23,  · Foucault’s idea of the subject and its relation to power and knowledge is highlighted by Rabinow in The Foucault Reader. Foucault establishes that .

Foucauldian discourse analysis is a form of discourse analysis, focusing on power relationships in society as expressed through language and practices, and based on the theories of Michel Foucault Contents.

Power/knowledge | Social Theory Rewired