Thursday, October 13, 2005

Negri - 'A Contribution On Foucault'

"Foucault's work is a strange machine, it actually makes it impossible to think of history as other than present history. Probably, a great deal of what Foucault wrote (as Deleuze rightly underlined) should be rewritten today. What is astonishing - and concerning -, is that he never ceases to seek, he makes approximations, he deconstructs, he formulates hypotheses, he imagines, he makes analogies and tells fables, he launches concepts, withdraws them or modifies them… His is a thought of a formidable inventiveness. But this is not its essence: I believe that his method is fundamental, because it enables him to study and describe at the same time the movement from the past to the present and that from the present to the future. It is a method of transition where the present represents the center. Foucault is there, between the two, neither in the past where he does archaeology, nor in the future whose image he sometimes sketches - ““comme à la limite de la mer un visage sur le sable”” -. It is starting from the present that it is possible to distinguish other times. Foucault has often been reproached for the scientific legitimacy of his periodizations: we I can understand the historians, but at the same time, I would want to say that this is not a real problem: Foucault is where the questioning lies, which always originates in his own time.

Historical analysis, with Foucault, thus becomes an action, knowledge of the past becomes a genealogy, the future perspective becomes a dispositif. For those who come from the militant Marxism of the 1960s (but not from the dogmatic and caricatural traditions of the Second and Third International), Foucault's point of view is obviously perceived as absolutely legitimate: it corresponds to the perception of the event, of the struggles and of the joy of taking risks outside of all necessity and pre-established teleology. In Foucault's thought, Marxism is completely dismantled at the level of analysis of power relations and historical teleology, of the refusal of historicism or of a certain positivism; but at the same time, Marxism is also reinvented and remodelled on the perspective of the movements and struggles, i.e. actually on the reality of the subjects of these movements and struggles: because to know is to produce subjectivity." - From generation-online.

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