Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Foucault On Abnormal - Review

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews has published this review of Abnormal, the latest collection of Foucault's Collage de France lectures (1974-1975).

1 comment:

Samuel Douglas said...

Interesting. The discussion of the case concering the girl 'caressing' the peasant is not unlike what had been said at times when we were talking about it in Power and Subjectivity. I'm not sure what to make of it. I want to side with Foucault, but that might just be because in this case I want him to be right. This does not mean that he is. The truth of the matter would be impossible to establish, therefore it all becomes fodder for various interpretations aimed at gaining power, degenerating into a sad parade of 'plausible' suggestions. I might express incrdulity of rape as the girl went an bought almonds from the fair straight after. But my opponent can easily counter by suggesting that I am projecting modern expectations on the girl or that she was in denial or even that this is only what she is 'reported' to have done( and how do we that this report is true) or any number of other theories that have no more (and possibly much less) basis than anything that I , or Foucault, might suggest. In the end, the discussion is not about the girl, or even the medicalisation of sexuality, it is about some people trying to gain (or regain) power over others. And that, to me, lends plenty of plausiblity to Foucault's overall account, even if certain specific examples are vulnerable to attack.