Friday, December 16, 2005

HOW TO BE FREE

Strategies for freedom
from the work of Foucault

Bill Pascoe, 7/July/2004

Readers of Foucault often form the impression that if we accept his views we must relinquish the possibility of freedom. Tending to value freedom highly readers face the problem of resigning themselves to Foucault's compelling account of power, or rejecting it. The impression that Foucault has rejected the possibility of freedom arises from Foucault's view that knowledge, discourse and identity come about only in relations of power. It appears the freedoms we would specify (to discover and be who we are and speak about truth or justice) are constituted as the products of power. If these things are secondary products of power, it seems impossible to have any freedom from power. This view is related to 'metanarrative'. It appears that the production of knowledge and identity form part of a 'metanarrative', or 'architecture', within which we are defined and situated, and which is the mechanism of power and the means of our subjection. If 'freedoms' can only be constructed in this way, as a result of power, within some metanarrative, it seems impossible to reject a 'metanarrative' without submitting oneself to some other metanarrative which has its own way of producing one's identity (eg: to overthrow superstition with science, to overthrow capitalist corruption with communism, to overthrow moral degradation with religion, to overthrow totalitarianism with free market liberal democracy etc) - it would only be possible to replace one system of oppression with another. While Foucault seems to avoid mentioning the word 'freedom' in works such as 'Discipline and Punish'1 and 'The Will To Knowledge'2 while engaging in lengthy discussions on power, knowledge, identity and discourse, it is possible to retain a notion of freedom in accord with these works and Foucault succinctly summarises his views of freedom in Afterword3. Foucault's description of power is not as remote from the 'real world' as some critics would argue, who would restrict the relevance of his work to 'high academia' or dismiss it as 'self indulgent radical chic'. The operations of power and freedom as Foucault describes them are evident both in world events that effect the lives of many, and our most mundane day-to-day experiences. This does not make Foucault's views trivial but all the more significant. It is important then to clarify the arguments that criticise Foucault as discounting the possibility of freedom. This will involve an examination of 'freedom' as well as criticism of his view of 'metanarrative' to avoid miss-readings. In doing so we may find a better understanding of Foucault's account of power can equip us with more sophisticated ways of being free, a technology of freedom, without needing to reject his convincing account.

continued in comment ...

3 comments:

Bill Pascoe said...

In his essay "Foucault on Freedom and Truth"4 Charles Taylor argues that power is not conceivable without freedom, since, semantically it is opposite to it - semantically power is defined in opposition to notions like freedom and liberation. He poses the question, "'Power' without 'freedom' or 'truth': can there really be an analysis which uses the notion of power, and which leaves no place for freedom, or truth?"5 and later says, "But this means that 'power' belongs in a semantic field from which 'truth' and 'freedom' cannot be excluded... He [Foucault] wants to discredit as somehow based on a misunderstanding the very idea of liberation from power. But I am arguing that power, in his sense, does not make sense without at least the idea of liberation. It may then be shown that the specific liberation, defined in a given context as the negation of the power wielded therein, is not realizable for this or that reason..."6. Taylor accepts that Foucault recognises that "Something must be imposed on someone if there is to be domination."7 in Foucault's discussion of 'resistances', but argues that "...something is only an imposition on me against a background of desires, interests, purposes, that I have."8 Taylor is arguing that such 'desires, interests, purposes,' (or 'freedoms') must be a precondition to power, prior to power, for without them power could not be imposed over anything. Taylor provides a thorough argument that is exemplary of the problem faced by readers outlined above, of needing to accept Foucault and lose the idea of freedom, or reject his case and argue for freedom. It is important to show how an understanding of freedom, as not necessarily prior to power, can be retained in reading Foucault.

Firstly it might be easy to argue that in this situation of terms being defined by their semantic opposites, ie: power contra freedom, that a pointless 'chicken and egg' debate would arise and that it would be better to say that if each presupposes each other, neither is prior or posterior to the other, but they must arise in distinction, together 'at the same time'. If power necessarily presupposes freedom, because it is its semantic opposite, it must also be true that freedom presupposes power because it is its semantic opposite. But this is not the notion of freedom we can extrapolate from Discipline and Punish9 or The Will To Knowledge10. Power and freedom is not a question of semantic opposites, it is a question of positive (not negatory) degrees and collisions of 'will'. Where these 'wills' collide, occur the 'resistances' Taylor has acknowledged, "This is recognized by Foucault in his thesis that there is no power without 'resistances'."11 In Foucault's 'microphysics' of power, both freedom and power, following the analogy with physics, can be regarded as the same positive 'force'.

"What the apparatuses and institutions operate is, in a sense, a micro-physics of power, whose field of validity is situated in a sense between these great functionings and the bodies themselves with their materiality and their forces.
"Now, the study of this micro-physics presupposes that the power exercised on the body is conceived not as a property, but as a strategy, that its effects of domination are attributed not to 'appropriation', but to dispositions, manoeuvres, tactics, techniques, functionings; that one should decipher in a network of relations, constantly in tension, in activity, rather than a privilege that one might possess; that one should take as its model a perpetual battle rather than a contract regulating a transaction or the conquest of a territory."12

In physics, we see that force may increase or diminish, be large or small, but it is not defined as the opposite of some 'anti-force'. It would be possible to argue that, in this sense, power and freedom are the same thing - 'will' (one's will is to copulate with people of the same gender, another's is they don't, one's will is to stop people trying to stop homosexuality; two people's will is to own a particular treasure, one to lock it away, one to steal it; one is free to murder, another is free to stop him; one has the power to murder, one has the power to stop him). It is in the resistances of will, (when two forces encounter and resist each other - a 'perpetual battle') that power and freedom, and the associated and related discourse and knowledge occur. "We should admit rather that power produces knowledge ...; that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations."13 One of Foucault's chief virtues is his ability to demonstrate how not any one of these is prior, not that power, freedom, identity, knowledge, discourse, etc must come one before the other, but how these distinctions arise in concert, historically. "Relations of power-knowledge are not static forms of distribution, 'they are matrices of transformations'."14

An elaboration of the terms is still needed, though, as Foucault's description is not simple. Foucault does allow that there are powers exercised over others in ways that accord with traditional views. This would be a matter not of one side having won the battle, but of the force of one side being greater than the other, so that the situation would fit closer our traditional view of one side having power the other ("...a power that is exercised on those punished..." in the following quote). However, it is important to retain Foucault's notion that knowledge of the subject (the prior 'free' being in Taylor's criticism) is produced in the relations of power - "The history of this 'micro-physics' or the punitive power would then be a genealogy or an element in a genealogy of the modern 'soul'. Rather than seeing this soul as the reactivated remnants of an ideology, one would see it as the present correlative of a certain technology of power over the body. It would be wrong to say that the soul is an illusion, or an ideological effect. On the contrary, it exists, it has a reality, it is produced permanently around, on, within the body by the functioning of a power that is exercised on those punished - and, in a more general way, on those one supervises, trains and corrects, over madmen, children at home and at school, the colonized, over those who are stuck at a machine and supervised for the rest of their lives."15 The 'soul' Foucault speaks of here, is the 'freedom' or the entity that is 'free' that Taylor articulates as necessarily prior to power and not possibly constructed by it.

It is worth noting that Foucault says that this constructed soul is not an illusion. We have a tendency to assume that if some understanding is brought to light, that there has been a deception, that what it brings to light is a truth behind a falsehood, that anything that has been constructed is a fiction and that we must overthrow those who have been propagating this fiction to achieve knowledge and freedom - that freedom is freedom from such deception and related coercion. This is perhaps the tendency that Taylor, and from my observation, many readers succumb to. But this is still to misunderstand Foucault. For the understanding he brings us, is not of the production of such a fiction, but the production of a reality. A better response than giving up on freedom, if we find Foucault's case compelling, is to understand the "dispositions, manoeuvres, tactics, techniques, functionings" of this production so that we may be more 'empowered' and better able to exercise our 'freedom' in its production.

Taylor acknowledges that truth (or knowledge) and identity are interrelated but, in insisting on a pre-existing truth about ourselves that makes freedom possible in so far as we are able to enlighten ourselves to it (and by obtaining it, liberate ourselves from power), provides an example which perfectly illustrates what Foucault is trying to describe (on a local scale), and Taylor is arguing against:
"Biographically we see examples all the time. After a long period of stress and confusion, I come to see that I really love A, or I really don't want to take that job. I now see retrospectively that the image of myself as quite free and uncommitted had a merely superficial hold on me. It did not correspond to a profound aspiration. It just stood in the way of my recognizing the depths of my commitment to A. Or, the picture of a career which that job instantiated, which seemed before so powerful, so non-gainsayable, turns out to be a model which my entourage was pressing on me, but which I cannot really endorse.
"What makes these biographical changes of outlook/life possible, which seem to be steps towards the truth? Our sense of ourselves, of our identity, of what we are. I see this change as a discovery of what I am, of what really matters to me. And this is why I do not see this as a kind of character change, what a lobotomy might produce, for instance. Rather I see it as a step towards truth (or perhaps better put, it is a step out of error), and even in certain conditions as a kind of liberation."16

Taylor has attempted to demonstrate that this is an uncovering of the truth about myself, and thereby a liberation from falsehood, a falsehood that was intentionally or unintentionally foisted upon me by my social situation and history. But it is equally an example of Foucault's thesis - that at this local level, resistances occur (More and more I am depressed.), this compels me to seek knowledge (Why is this happening?) and as a consequence, I construct a truth (It's my job.) and an identity, (I'm just not cut out for customer service!) by articulating it, discoursing about it (even if it is with myself). All this would not have come about if that resistance had not been there.

It is understandable, and Taylor would most likely acknowledge this, that when we seek these hidden depths, that we use, more often than not, pre-existing discourses to articulate ourselves. If there is a language ready to use, and the way it describes the world matches our experience, we are likely to adopt that discourse in articulating our identity, and situating ourselves in a structure of power (eg: downtrodden by capitalism, having lost and needing to regain the faith, taking on too many of other people's problems, suffering from a depression so inexplicable it could only be the result of an neurochemical imbalance, embracing the label of outlaw, etc). If we were to take 'discourse' itself on as the power, or a feature of it, from which we ought to liberate ourselves, perhaps we would need to invent our own ways of speaking about the turmoils we encounter. It seems both difficult and commonplace for this to occur. If we sit down and try to imagine ourselves renaming, restructuring every passing experience it seems a mammoth task, but in fact in our social interactions we are commonly re-articulating our experience. This is particularly noticeable in the speak of teenagers for example. Western subcultural lingo is a fairly popular topic but it is worth noting that such subcultures arise out of even more local articulations of shared experience, observations or attitudes. Some tight knit groups virtually form whole languages only few understand. The phrases "Nuh.", "My bike's parked outside.", "Wastawissumpussumcrap." have special meanings only understandable to a few people I knew in high school, and which are difficult to articulate to anybody else. Even now at work, there are phrases that could generate a laugh or nod of understanding in certain quarters, inscrutable to anybody else. It is easy enough to see how these articulations of shared experience can grow into 'youth sub-cultures' (and 'cultures'), and how systems of power/discourse/knowledge can, as Foucault describes, arise out of these localised practices, how localised resistance is possible, and why "In chapter 5 of Power/Knowledge, he speaks of rehabilitating subjugated and local knowledges against the established dominant truth."17 So here we have at least one small example of how to be free, a strategy that is not obscured in academic subtleties, but is in fact quite commonplace - that of rearticulating in one's own more or less invented discourse.

"The 'truth' manufactured by power also turns out to be its 'masks' or disguises and hence untruth. The idea of a manufactured or imposed 'truth' inescapably slips the word into inverted commas, and opens the space of a truth-outside-quotes, the kind of truth, for instance, which the sentences unmasking power manifest, or which the sentences expounding the general theory of regime-relativity themselves manifest (a paradox)"18 But Foucault is not suggesting that the 'truth' is necessarily 'manufactured' by those in power, as part of their conscious techniques of imposition. It is not a 'truth' that Foucault intends to discredit as 'untrue'. We traditionally understand 'truth' to be necessarily external to ourselves, something beyond us that we may discover, or uncover, in the 'hermeneutic' tradition. Something can only be true if it is not a product of our imagination or contrivance - but Foucault has already explained that this is not the notion of truth he describes. Foucault is not trying to uncover the 'real truth' about how power produces 'truth'. He is trying to describe how 'truth' and knowledge is produced through the operations of power, and refraining from any judgements as to whether this truth is 'really true'. Foucault means quite literally that truth is produced through these operations of power. That is the extent to which 'truth' may be 'true'. A contradiction only arises if we define 'truth' as external to ourselves, which Foucault does not, but Charles Taylor does. As Arnold I Davidson notes in Archaeology, Genealogy, Ethics "... To get an initial approximation of how he understood these two terms [Archaeology and Genealogy] one can do no better than to recall a pair of suggestions he advanced at the end of 'Truth and Power', an interview given in the late seventies: '"Truth" is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements..."Truth" is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it. A "regime" of truth'"19 This is less a matter of revealing the underlying truth of power's deceit, than of redefining 'truth' to exclude the assumption that is independent of its human constitution. It may be argued that without that assumption, 'truth' is no longer 'truth' and a different word should be used, but whether or not the word is redefined or a different word should be used is a pedantic matter. What we are concerned with is the purport of Foucault's thesis, and whether it aptly describes what is happening or paints a better picture than the more traditional notions (such as the fundamental underlying truth of human liberty) he is trying to 'liberate' our thinking from.

Another example of this criticism of Foucault (the view that truth and knowledge may be instrumental in asserting freedom against power, on the assumption that freedom is already there, subsequently oppressed by the deceptions of power) may be found in a paper advocating the notion of Paidea in education:

"Turning directly to the second point, it is clear that such institutionalisation is a focal point of Foucault's critiques. Notwithstanding their illuminating emphasis on practices of control, the lack of a self-critical dimension in these critiques allows Foucault's own arguments to engage in all-inclusive categorisations and manipulative classifications in fact the kind of thing which his analyses have sought to expose. An example of this is Foucault's declaration, which allows for no exceptions, that 'power and knowledge directly imply one another.' Even more sweeping is his insistence that 'there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.' This puts out of consideration in advance, by an assertion which is breathtaking in its sweep, the suggestion that knowledge might chiefly be important as an earnest search for emancipation from oppressive power, albeit a fallible, a faltering and an unfinishing search. Something of this pre-emptive dismissal is also evident in Lyotard's "incredulity" towards "metanarratives" ..."20 Padraig Hogan goes on to recommend, among other things, "... to treat the issue of personal identity more as a matter of epiphany than of imposition, of disclosure than of conformity."21

Although Hogan's proposal is benevolent, intending to allow space for diversity and personal freedom, empowering students with aptitudes and know-how, its criticism of Foucault is poorly founded. Again the author, rather than showing the invalidity of Foucault's case, simply provides another example of it. Hogan is advocating the disciplined construction of identity, the institutionalisation of self-discovery, in so far as it is to take place within school and according to standards, even while advocating the liberty and diversity of students. This is to be another example of the extension of the 'pastoral tradition'22, even panopticism23, where students are encouraged to discourse about and disclose themselves in a kind of confessional, and through this practice their identity is to be constituted. In a sense this is how their 'soul' is to be produced. We must also ask how the students in the schooling recommended by Hogan, will be treated according to their diversity and individual needs - it is not by normalisation (which Hogan is against) but by exactly that practice which Foucault describes, of measurement of differences against standards, of gaining knowledge, through confession, and directing both the individuals acting on behalf of the institution, and the students themselves, in accordance with where the individual resides on related scales. The student's identity or soul is constituted in this 'architecture' of knowledge, discourse and rationalisation.

Both Taylor and Hogan remain bound up in what Foucault calls a "juridico-discursive" view of power.24 Foucault describes his project as not a 'theory' but an 'analytics' and that this analytics must free itself from the "juridico-discursive" view which binds any critic to two possible views, precisely those that Taylor and Hogan centre their arguments around, which they see Foucault as presenting, but which Foucault explains he is trying to get away from. "They both rely on a common representation of power which, depending on the use made of it and the position it is accorded with respect to desire, leads to two contrary results: either to the promise of a 'liberation,' if power is seen as having only an external hold on desire, or, if it is constitutive of desire itself, to the affirmation: you are always-already trapped."25 This notion of 'you are always already trapped' is the common dilemma readers find themselves in and is closely associated with 'metanarrative'.

It appears you are 'always already trapped' because if who you are, your identity, is always constituted by power (and its related metanarrative) you cannot be free of one power without that freedom being already constructed (through metanarrative) by some other power. The hope that we could be free of power assumes an 'external hold on desire' and the disappointment that we may never be free also assumes that by 'free' we meant the opposite of power, something which can only be had by the negation of power. Taylor's and Hogan's essays exemplify these views. "Because of relativity, transformation from one regime to another cannot be a gain in truth or freedom, because each is redefined in the new context. They are incomparable."26

But Foucault anticipates Taylor's and Hogan's criticisms and rejects them. He goes on to assert that this view is no longer adequate to describe modern forms of power, which are not simply 'negative' in terms of the prohibitions of law, but which are 'positive' and 'technological'. "But let us assume in turn that a somewhat careful scrutiny will show that power in modern societies has not in fact governed sexuality through law and sovereignty; let us suppose that historical analysis has revealed the presence of a veritable 'technology' of sex, one that is much more complex and above all much more positive than the mere effect of a 'defense' could be;"27 Foucault goes on to describe, as he does on many occasions, the dynamic and complex, de-centralised 'architecture' of power structures (which presupposes 'resistances'), which is not polarised, centralised, stable, or completely within the control of any one individual, or finally articulated in any discursive field: "Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power. Should it be said that one is always 'inside' power, there is no 'escaping' it, there is no absolute outside where it is concerned, because one is subject to the law in any case? Or that, history being the ruse of reason, power is the ruse of history, always emerging the winner? This would be to misunderstand the strictly relational character of power relationships. Their existence depends on a multiplicity of points of resistance: these play the role of adversary, target, support, or handle in power relations. These points of resistance are present everywhere in the power network."28

A criticism of Foucault that is difficult to ignore, is that if he is writing a 'history' or 'genealogy' of 'metanarratives' he is himself writing a 'metanarrative' so that he cannot extract his case from contradiction. If Foucault is showing that the truths of metanarratives are constructed, hence in some sense illusory or false, then his own account must equally be so. We have already seen that Foucault's intention is not to reveal a deception, thereby showing the 'real truth' behind truth and power. On the contrary Foucault is describing how metanarrative arises. Naturally he is compelled to provide a 'metanarrative' of this - any approach to such a broad and historical topic would be a 'metanarrative' by virtue of its broad scope. If his 'metanarrative' is about power, discourse, truth and so on, it must be situated from a vantage point in some sense 'outside' of truth. As Richard Rorty notes, Foucault's work is a 'description' rather than an exposé of the truth about power, "The urge to tell stories of progress, maturation and synthesis might be overcome if we once took seriously the notion that we only know the world and ourselves under a description"29 Given that Foucault's account is descriptive, if his account itself is an example of what he describes it can only lend force to his case, rather than contradict it. In a sense anyone is 'always, already trapped', if they are to provide a broad and historical account of power, into writing a 'metanarrative of metanarrative'. But Foucault escapes the epistemological dilemma, by providing a description of a positive technology of power, not a truth. Our question is then, not whether Foucault illuminates the truth, but does he provide a good description?

An obvious topical example to look at is the conflicts arising out of the collision of an aeroplane into the twin towers in New York, the event known as "September 11". Evidently a great deal of discourse has arisen out of this in the consequent play of power. In the 'West' there has been a boom in the development of knowledge about Islam and fundamentalism, shifts in how people identify themselves in this conflict, changes in actions on bodies based on this event and the consequent knowledge and discourse, and the opposition of powers (or 'freedoms') arising out of this event has grown and grown in scale. From this point of 'resistance', a very corporeal and theatrical action taken by a small group of people, a glut of discourse was very visibly produced. There were calls for more books about Islam, daily news items, people in the West began talking more and more about it, often as a clash between the metanarratives of 'Islamic fundamentalism' versus 'corporate corruption and moral degradation' and 'democratic freedom' versus 'despots and terrorism' or however you want to call them (there is not space to go into the complexities of the discourses here). Naturally there were also discourses for perpetrators of the plane crash, situating and constructing, in their view, the identities of the people they were killing and themselves, and justifying their actions.

After the event the way the whole issue was spoken about in the West still conditions actions undertaken. A great deal of 'knowledge' was generated about terrorists and Islam and fundamentalists, not necessarily produced with deceitful intent, but generally for the purpose of trying to work out what to do to control or have power over the situation, to limit the freedom of people to fly aeroplanes into buildings, for example. Some argue that the opportunity was taken, justified by this new reality, to limit some other freedoms called 'civil liberties' as well. It led to the movement of a great many bodies and the killing of a great many more than were killed on 'September 11', all driven by this discourse and knowledge, each event and consequent point of resistance driving again more discourse and knowledge production. The victory of one side over another in this situation seems to be not that they defeat their enemy in a traditional sense (terrorists vanquish corruption, or vice versa) but that one side gets to define who or what the enemy is, to control the discourse that produces action and reality. In the case of 'September 11', there was a remarkable compatibility with the opposing forces - although both fought with differing discourses and justifications the borders they drew between 'good' and 'evil' were roughly the same, perfect conditions for each to flourish as they play off each other. What was diminished was the possibility of disagreeing with both purveyors of architectures of opposition and with the discourses defining identity in terms of these architectures. There was a degree of fear that if you disagreed with President Bush you would be labelled as justifying September 11. For Australians at least, America stopped being someone you could laugh at, mostly amiably, and become something to avoid causing offence to - whether you thought Australians should put on a stoic face to help a friend in need, or were fearful of reprisal for saying anything that could be construed as 'un-American'. In this way each side, Al Qa'ida and allies and The Bush Administration and allies, have been successful. They have both 'hijacked' our discourse and identity, the reality of our lives, to a significant degree.

Military strategists are not blind to these Foucaultian operations. Some awareness of what Foucault describes does not only occur with reference to Foucault, but is perceptible to those perhaps ignorant of Foucault, or even disdainful of his 'type' of thought. This demonstrates further, the relevance of Foucault's thought - it is not mere "...self-indulgent radical chic."30 What he talks about is evident to and effects the lives of many. The book Future Armies, Future Challenges, land warfare in the information age31 is itself an example of the discourse produced by September 11. In it are presented a range of views of military thinkers, which demonstrate in various ways either what Foucault is talking about, or an awareness of the kinds of operations Foucault articulates. For example, the dynamic emergence of architectures in localised conflict (where 'power' has not reached its completion in the absolute traditional sense, but emerges through resistances of will and so on) is the subject of the entirety of Chapter 8, Asymmetric Warfare. The chapter focuses on the rarity of two military forces being equally opposed; the dynamics of moral justification and military action, determined not by overarching rules but localised interacting events; and how overarching moral justifications and the structure of military operations and strategy change constantly in response to localised events and actions between unequal and different military groups. There are many examples, compare the chapter's epigram, "One is weak because he makes preparations against others; The other has strength because he makes others prepare for him. - Sun Tzu"32 with Foucault, "In effect, what defines a relationship of power is that it is a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately on others. Instead it acts upon their actions: an action upon an action, on existing actions or on those that may arise in the present or the future. A relationship of violence acts upon a body or upon things: it forces, it bends, it breaks on the wheel, it destroys, or it closes the door on all possibilities. Its opposite pole can only be passivity, and if it comes up against any resistance it has no other option but to try to minimise it. On the other hand a power relationship can only be articulated on the basis of two elements which are each indispensable if it is really to be a power relationship: that "the other" (the one over whom power is exercised) be thoroughly recognised and maintained to the very end as a person who acts; and that, faced with a relationship of power, a whole field of responses, reactions, results, and possible inventions may open up... Basically power is less a confrontation between two adversaries or the linking of one to the other than a question of government... To govern, in this sense, is to structure the possible field of action of others."33 Foucault's observation is born out by Duncan Lewis's comment, "I think there are limits with regard to the way one manages terrorism."34 - the concern is not so much to stop terrorism, but to control the potential for terrorism (ultimately, of course, stopping it) not by overwhelming force but by 'management'. It is recognised that the question is not one of the imposition of will, but of 'government'.

The importance of and interrelation of 'architecture', power, knowledge and discourse is brought out again in chapter 10, "It is very difficult to deal with al-Qa'ida because the way it operates is out of sanctuaries in Afghanistan. It is very difficult to get at the leadership. They have operational and support cells in a number of countries. They use human couriers to go backwards and forwards carrying messages. The agents never leave Afghanistan. The couriers have a limited amount of information. Consequently, if you roll up one cell, you are not going to get another cell because it is a different agent handler dealing with that. What they tend to do is that they set up an operation with a number of simultaneous events often unknown to other cells. The attacks against the US embassies in East Africa demonstrated the security provided by the existence of these cut offs... This is an enemy that is difficult to penetrate from an intelligence point of view and difficult to deal with militarily as well... The initial US response, which was to mobilise Reserves and call up the National Guard, did not address the real problem. It did, however, make people feel better that something was being seen to be done."35 and "When she was Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher decided to starve the terrorists of their oxygen - the media coverage they were getting ... The message that came through after a year or two was that you cannot control the media even within your own country, let alone around the world ... It [terrorism] is a problem that you have to confront."36 This shows that what Foucault describes, such as the relationship between knowledge, discourse and power, is commonplace, and that those who are concerned to 'have power' (eg: military leaders and revolutionaries / terrorists) are not naive to it, regardless of whether they have read Foucault.

Leading Western military thinkers recognise that 'terrorists' are attempting to gain 'power' by actively creating localised points of resistance, to produce discourse about their issues, to polarise people into their 'architecture' of identity, compelling everyone to be either with or against them rather than being ignorant of them and their views. These revolutionaries are bringing the 'realities' they want into reality by this means. In many ways their opponents are failing to stop them, but in fact support those realities, creating more discourse around them, compelling people to take sides on the terms brought about by the revolutionaries. This has happened in Iraq with increased active opposition against America. People who were once indifferent or at least inactive now take up arms (called 'insurgents' in the media), with hubs forming around local leaders and so on, gradually marking out borders where resistance is strong or weak, and America has more or less ability to govern.

In some senses al Qa'ida operatives have demonstrated a positive freedom/power that fits well with Foucault's' critique. They have instigated 'local resistances' which have grown to structure reality. Against the architectures of centralised control and knowledge, they have opposed an architecture of distribution and obscurity resistant to 'confession', a feature common to revolutionary or resistance movements. Again - Raja Menon contributes "On 16 January 1993, we captured a ship, the MV Ahat, with 28 people in it. They were carrying 55 tons of arms and ammunition on the high seas, 220 miles south-east of Madras. We shepherded the ship into territorial waters and then asked for its surrender. Then everything went wrong. People on board started biting on cyanide capsules, jumping overboard, setting the ship on fire. The commanding officer lost his nerve and opened fire, and there was no way they were going to surrender. What we did not realise at the time was that Sathasivam Krishnakumar, alias Kittu, the number two man in the LTTE was on board, and no way were they going to surrender. Everyone who jumped overboard was picked up.
"Given that in the entire state of Tamil Nadu there would not have been a single man willing to give evidence against the LTTE, a special court was set up in a different State. They were taken there. The LTTE's organization in London provided the best Admiralty lawyers, and so after a trial of one-and-a-half years every one of them walked. Thereafter, when we did catch people like these on the high seas, we let them approach the Sri Lankan coast and merely told the Sri Lankan Air Force where they were and looked the other way."37

There are plenty of examples of how distributed and obscure architectures are used to counteract government by centralisation and knowledge - drugs are dealt among a limited group of friends, each buyer only knowing the dealer, not who they buy from and so on. Al Qa'ida operatives have limited or no knowledge of other cells - hence that knowledge cannot be garnered from them to increase the force or 'power' or 'efficacy of will' of the Bush administration - it is on these terms that the power, and the limits of the Bush Administrations' ability to 'act upon the actions of others' are established - "In effect, what defines a relationship of power is that it is a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately on others. Instead it acts upon their actions: an action upon an action, on existing actions or on those which may arise in the present or future."38 This is one of the techniques of freedom that we could develop from Foucault's critique - if faced with governance by centralisation, knowledge and confession, use distribution and obscurity.

But the point I am trying to make is not that either revolutionaries or government, or the Bush Administration or Al Qa'ida, are exercising some right to be free, nor that we should necessarily see any of their actions as good or bad or justifiable, but how each of us may use a technology of freedom to resist any or all of these, or when faced with any situation where we are subjected to identity through some metanarrative or architecture we have a negligible say in constructing. It is important to draw a distinction between a 'freedom' to choose between one or more metanarratives, submitting oneself to one metanarrative in which you take up the fight against another, and the kinds of technologies of freedom we can extrapolate from Foucault's discussion of power. In the discourse arising from September 11, there is sometimes a tendency to view the conflict as a 'clash of civilisations' - a historic shift in scale from clashes of nation states in the past. David Warren in Through the Eyes of the Enemy39 suggests recent conflicts were inevitable, arising out of the failure of one 'metanarrative' or another such as socialism, aristocracy or religion in the third world. He blames this failure, and an unwillingness to accept ideological failure, for conflict with the West: "Capitalism, too, became a target of Eastern animosity, especially in the form of the bourgeois satisfaction with money and the comfort it can buy. To this were opposed the heroic virtues, the ideals of self-sacrifice, and the religious and aristocratic visions of grandeur that each afflicted society associated with its own past. Liberalism and democracy were no less frequently rejected as symptoms of the same disease, along with artistic freedom and sexual license. Hence, in much of the Third World, the appeal of socialism with its promise of a purely 'scientific' way to obtain the advantages of modernity without the cultural and religious ramifications. But then, with the failure of socialism to deliver the goods, resentment was added to an already combustible inferiority complex to fuel still further animosity to the West."40

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters is worth citing at length because he is an avid exponent of the 'clash of civilisations' point of view and his text is good material for drawing out the subtle but important distinctions between this view and Foucault's, so that we may elaborate a Foucaultian account of freedom (and because the 'knowledge' produced in his discourse, because of his influential position, may have a good deal of influence on what happens to the bodies of many people).

"When traditions crack and social orders struggle, men and nations yearn for reassurance. Those that feel the weight of change most painfully do not want to know why they have failed; rather, they want to know who they might blame. No man desires to face his own inadequacy, nor do civilisations blame themselves for their own collapse. Once men blamed gods. Now, in the Middle East, they blame America and the West. The difference is hardly one of substance.
"...Now the advent of the postmodern, techno-industrial juggernaut of Western civilisation is pushing the matter toward a culmination. We are witnessing the globalisation, not of democracy, but of blame and self-exonerating simplifications insisting that centuries of bad choices do not count in human failure so much as that distant, satanic America of liberty, justice - and opportunity - for all.
"Freedom terrifies the failed, whether we speak of individuals or of entire civilisations."41
"This human aching for simplification and bogeymen to blame has always come to the fore when social organization proved inadequate, whether it had to do with plague-ridden Greeks who raced to appease their deities, or with plague-ridden Europeans slaughtering Jews to drive out the Black Death. The greatest crisis of the Western order in the past thousand years (and the catalyst of the West's rise), the Protestant Reformation spawned no end of cults as prescriptive as those of today's Islamists... The next greatest crisis, the industrial revolution, with its social and geographical dislocation, drove men with traditional skills and yearnings to despair. The simultaneous emergence of utopian political theories sought to make the world at once intelligible and manageable... No matter how complex any theory may appear, mankind is infinitely more inventive, more inspired, and more mischievous than any theoretical approach can accommodate."42
"Sometimes you fight not the just wars but the necessary wars, and it is necessary to win them. In the aftermath of 11 September in the United States, a number of instant myths sprang up, or returned from the dead. One of the myths -really pernicious, and always from leftist-campus intellectuals - is that, if we behave with the brutality of our enemies, we become as bad as them. As an aside, I do hope that, as a result of 11 September, we will witness a rebirth of the intellectual Left. One consequence of the attacks on New York and Washington has been to expose the more utopian cultural relativist fantasies of many ivory-tower-based scholars. They are still in confusion now because all these supposed folk-dance groups are bombing the World Trade Center.
"As Ian MacFarling suggests in his chapter on the combined bombing campaign during World War II, we answered Japanese and German aggression and savagery with literally immeasurable brutality of our own. We fire-bombed German and Japanese cities, and ended up dropping two atomic bombs. By the end of the war in the Pacific, US marines and soldiers were enjoying burning Japanese soldiers alive with flame throwers - and they did not read them their rights first."43

Now, there are many points in Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters words that could be seen as Foucaultian. He recognises that points of resistance, or problems produce 'myths' - discourse and knowledge constructing realities and architectures within which our identity is situated, determining the possible actions I may take and that may be taken upon me. He appears to recognise that no one of these ideologies or myths is necessary or right, but emerges out of events, historically, or perhaps 'genealogically'. However Lieutenant Colonel Peter's metanarrative of metanarrative remains a metanarrative in a way that Foucault's does not. While Foucault restricts himself to a description of these operations, the technology of power, the governance of bodies, the construction of the subject and so on, Lieutenant Peter's constructs an enemy and a right and wrong, to establish a mechanism of judgement and justification, situating subjects and bodies the way that any other metanarrative would. In his construction, we see that there are failing civilisations and successful ones. The failing ones always blame others and lash out in violence. Specifically Islam is a failing civilisation lashing out at the civilised West. This is the justification for launching wars on failing civilisations, and if we cannot convince them to adopt the ideology of successful states like the United States of America, we must subdue them and force them to behave with any means of violence necessary. A person could be identified on either the side of self-delusion (Islam) or success and truth (America). (We may well wonder about how much blame Lieutenant Peters lays on Islam, and whether that is indicative of his failure, or America's. Is Peters, as an advocate of America's righteousness, blaming of Islam symptomatic of America's failure in foreign policy? For example, that it funded and supported Sadaam Hussain who became their enemy? Or even that they have been outwitted in the control of the 'game' of 'moral degradation' - its terrorist enemies succeed in portraying America as morally degraded at the same time as causing that degradation and funding themselves by contributing significantly to America's illegal opium and heroin imports44 {assuming, as is frequently asserted, heroin addiction is both symptomatic of and causes moral degradation}.) His observation that our ingenuity exceeds any attempt of theory or ideology to encapsulate it seems to allude to a 'microphysics' of power and the emergence of unforeseeable architectures of government and dynamism of resistances, technology, knowledge and discourse, but this is subsumed by the grand historical rise and fall and clash of civilisations.

Peters' neglect of a fundamental underlying morality or set of juridical rules we must abide by to retain our identity as 'the good guys' may appear to be in accord with Foucault's case for power being constitutive of such rules and moralities, in an almost 'might makes right' sense. None the less, power is described as something that is imposed - "The viciousness of these terrorists reminds us that we must be feared by all those that wish us ill."45 by the inherently righteous - "Those soldiers did not come home to the United Kingdom or Australia or the United States to stage a military coup or to transform it into a police state; they came home gladly, to liberal democracy and at peace. I often hear intellectual arguments, or insistence - they are not even arguments, but insistence - that if we behave badly, if we fight hard, we will become evil. Such arguments are an insult to our people. The people of our countries do a dirty job well and come home without turning into monsters."46 Peters fails to recognise the strategic point that, regardless of whether someone's evil actions make them evil, the imposition of power as fear, violence and punishment, only reinforces and strengthens those ideologies that the person imposing fear, violence and punishment is trying to defend themself from. There is a positive feedback of resistance, ideology, threats and violence. If those ideologies construct a picture of an oppressor of freedom, and those they 'blame', become more and more oppressive, then the ideology can only become more and more real and true. This is the strategy we have already mentioned behind violent revolutionary and terrorist groups, which is born out by the rise of Iraqi insurgence against the United States, as opposed to the thousands welcoming their liberators that the Bush administration prophesied. Also, 'freedom' is described as what people in the West have under liberal democracy. It is freedom from despotism and violent punishment. This is still the juridico-discursive view that Foucault critiques. Foucault's description of freedoms and powers coming into being, and being reinforced, through resistances, discourse and knowledge seems to more accurately portray what is actually happening. When terrorists invoked these resistances (in a very localised way) they brought all our freedoms, whether they be from America, or from terrorism to the forefront, a swath of discourse, knowledge gathering, and technology has ensued, which constructs or defines on these terms our identities and freedoms. This knowledge, discourse and identification led to further actions, such as the US war in Afghanistan and Iraq, within which there have been many more localised actions on bodies, justified in one way or another by the arising discourse, such as the US soldiers' abuse of prisoners, the treatment of Australian citizen prisoners in Guantanomo Bay, the lack of evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the political teetering of Pakistan, the decapitation of hostages, the bombing of railways, the insurance of the Olympic Games in Greece, the passing of anti-terrorist legislation, the price of petrol, the size of the Afghani opium harvest, the availability of nitrate based fertiliser, the commercial ownership of detention centres, the incarceration of children for years without trial, racial attacks on Chinese takeaways, cross-cultural romance TV miniseries made by Australian sports comedians, the banning of religious headwear in schools - and each of these localised interconnected events, each contributes and changes consequent actions, justification, knowledge, discourse and so on.

"I know what objections can be made. We can say that all types of subjection are derived phenomena, that they are merely the consequences of other economic and social processes: forces of production, class struggle, and ideological structures which determine the form of subjectivity.
"It is certain that the mechanisms of subjection cannot be studied outside their relation to the mechanisms of exploitation and domination. But they do not merely constitute the "terminal" of more fundamental mechanisms. They entertain complex and circular relations with other forms."47
This is the functioning of power at work, not a 'threat' to or 'imposition' of power on freedoms: "The relationship between power and freedom's refusal to submit cannot therefore be separated. The crucial problem of power is not that of voluntary servitude (how could we seek to be slaves?). At the very heart of the power relationship, and constantly provoking it, are the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom. Rather than speaking of an essential freedom, it would be better to speak of an 'agonism'-of a relationship which is at the same time reciprocal incitation and struggle; less a face-to-face confrontation which paralyses both sides than a permanent provocation."48

So the kind of freedom we can exercise from Foucault's point of view, would not merely be taking up arms against a particular enemy. It would not merely be accepting a definition of an enemy and targeting them. It is not about painting a picture of the world in which it is clear what is right and wrong. Rather it must be a constant exercise of criticism and questioning. Foucault focuses on 'subjection'. The 'battlefield' that is most important in the functioning of power is ourselves. To be free then, we must be aware of how we are 'subjected', and have a say in our own subjection. A strategy of avoiding subjection seems to miss the point, since our freedoms, our identity is constructed through these processes. To resist power and subjectification per se we could only advocate complete passivity. In addition we cannot do this in isolation, but it must be a social activity. "That is to say, power relations are rooted deep in the social nexus, not reconstituted "above" society as a supplementary structure whose radical effacement one could perhaps dream of. In any case, to live in society is to live in such a way that action upon other actions is possible - and in fact ongoing. A society without power relations can only be an abstraction. Which, be it said in passing, makes all the more politically necessary the analysis of power relations in a given society, their historical transformation, the source of their strength or fragility, the conditions which are necessary to transform some or to abolish others."49 There is a struggle "... against that which ties the individual to himself and submits himself to others in this way (struggles against subjection, against forms of subjectivity and submission)... And nowadays, the struggle against forms of subjection, against the submission of subjectivity - is becoming more and more important, even though the struggles against forms of domination and exploitation have not dissappeared."50

To summarise how we may be free: the challenge to each of us is to strategically participate in the government of our own and others subjection. But how? Perhaps some examples would be useful. Since I am writing about the localised 'microphysics' of power and personal subjection, and considering how we may each individually in our own lives apply a positive technology of power based on Foucault, I am compelled to give examples from my own experience.

In a flat in a warehouse squat in Surry Hills, several months after 'September 11' I saw, pasted on the fridge, a doctored image showing Osama bin Laden engaged in a homosexual act with George W Bush. This was a very rare (for where I live) site of local resistance at the time. It said what you couldn't say and in this is an example of the 'titillation' hinted at in The Will To Knowledge, where we discourse extensively about what ought not be spoken of. Regardless of the appropriateness of this joke (which skilfully produced an ambiguity between the obvious joke that bin Laden had fucked Bush and the implication that this was a mutual erotic act - that they were 'in bed together') the act of producing this image and displaying it (albeit hidden safely away in a squat where only au fait eyes would see it) demonstrates in its own small way the kind of act of freedom that an understanding of Foucault can enable. Obviously the production of this image could be dismissed as 'self-indulgent radical chic' or the work of a 'leftist campus intellectual', and of course it probably would not exist or have it's meaning if it were not for the presence of those kind of attitudes. But the leftist campus intellectual who produced the image has not taken the whole affair lying down, not held their tongue but has made their own dismissive joke, painting their own picture of things. In some degree they are subsuming themself to the discourse of 'leftist campus intellectualism', but in another way having a say in the governance of ideology, in a localised and social way (a joke among peers at terrorists and Bush alike). As well as the subtleties of the joke, simply laughing at or about others attempts to subject people and impose some architecture of power can be very effective, as recognised by the organisers of the 'Islamophobia' awards.51

Another example is the attitude of a girl to the recent Redfern Riots involving Aboriginal people on Eveleigh St, Sydney and a line of riot police. The following is a transcript of a witnesses comments, who lives on a street perpendicular to Eveleigh St not more than a block away:

We were trying to come home, but the station was closed, my girlfriend was pissed off, because we had to go to the next station.
The police said we couldn't go through but she said 'That's bullshit.' and went right through... Yes, there were riot police... No [they didn't damage much property - ed.]
The police contained them in Eveleigh Street mostly. We didn't notice much, but at some time in the night the police decided to pull back for some reason.
They started coming up the street, and they started yelling, "Don't go near the houses!" Mostly people just came out to the front of their houses to watch... yes, spectating...
I know a guy who works at SMH [Sydney Morning Herald - ed.] who rang me up in the middle of the night, and asked what was going on, I said not much, he said they had some photos but they couldn't use any of them because there were all these people in the background, just watching ... That's right, they weren't looking scared enough.

A predictable comment to make would be about the production of discourse by the media, who evidently were not intent on reporting the scene as it was, toned down or made comical by the calm curiosity of spectators, but as a frightening outbreak of urban violence. There is a great deal of discourse about the media's portrayal of events, so I needn't elaborate it. What is equally interesting is the attitude of the girl passing through the police blockade, dismissing the whole thing as bullshit. She refused to accept the architecture of power and identity laid out physically. The blockade was a physical manifestation of the discursive architectures of differences that constituted the identities in this situation (Aboriginal people and police and all the associated histories and points of view) and she pressed her own body through, similarly reflecting, by the use of her body, her recalcitrance and determination not to submit to the subjectification of herself to this way of drawing barriers and identity, and reprimanding and dismissing all else involved for their maintenance of it. This is another example of how we could use Foucault's work as a positive technology (though the girl probably wasn't thinking of Foucault at the time). The simple assertion or indifference to the architectures formulated, a refusal to situate herself on one side or the other of them, enabled her to pass directly through them. Brief moments like this can breach walls and, even if in a small way, it opens up possibilities - in the microphysics of power, these may cascade through many more people. One important problem remains - that she is white and not a policewoman. If she were aboriginal or a member of the police in that situation things may have been very different. Sometimes the constraints of identity are so tight you have very little ability to make a show of indifference. Someone may place you in a situation where their architecture and discourse results in an immanent violence against which no behaviour is effective. Being an aboriginal person living on Eveleigh St or member of the police at the time, it may have been very difficult not to participate in the divisions set up. Even so, the possibility is there.

So what situations have I been in, where I had such a limited say in the discourse that identified me to another, such that they were at liberty to exercise violence upon me, where my contribution to the governance of my own subjection seemed most limited - where for me, the game was almost over?

In Algiers, at the age of 15, I was walking with my father's lover, exploring the town. In some area, I have no idea which street or what part of town, which was mostly tall grey concrete buildings without colour, a large fist sized chunk of reinforced concrete with bits of steel poking out of it whizzed past my ear. Naturally we turned and walked back the way we came. I presumed someone who hated us as corrupt Westerners threw it. The woman I was with had no respect for local customs, and enjoyed parading around in tight jeans and eating oranges in the middle of the day on crowded buses during Ramadan. It was not so much that she refused to submit to the local perspective on women's behaviour, as that she submitted to the whole notion of Western women as liberated and brash and played up to it. Anyway, my reaction to the whole incident was to calmly walk away.

On another day I was in the courtyard of an abandoned building, being quizzed by a man and his colleagues. The lead role bragged that he had recently been in prison for murder. He seemed to enjoy tormenting me, asking those double questions where it is impossible to provide the right answer, the sort of thing we used to do in primary school. He cut his finger on a broken bottle and wiped it on my lip. He demonstrated my helplessness to me by throwing one arm around my neck and when my instinct compelled me to move away form it, I found the broken bottle at my neck in the direction my neck was moving. He laughed. To cut a long story short, I did very little, and eventually some girls who were living in the building said they were going. I said I was going with them, which I though he would understand, and they finally let me go. The whole time I said little, answered their questions indifferently, and simply hung around without confrontation and without fear (the shock came afterwards). I cannot help but think that if I had quivered with fear, pleaded, tried to 'stand up for myself' or run, it would have fulfilled the role he had prepared for me. He would have warmed further to his role and things would have gone worse for me. He was a cat playing with a mouse, and cats prefer to play with living mice, not ones laying dead.

Even in these two situations (without intending to compare this to the real suffering many have been through) I was able to work outside the schemes of the person "imposing power". In these situations my indifference and passivity was the only way possible to avoid the role they were attempting to impose on me - what they sought was a reaction, so I gave none, refusing their ability to govern the unfolding of events. The attempt to act upon my actions was thwarted. This is like the well known strategy of 'peaceful protest' where people faced with others who are well armed (and who perhaps want to fight because they would have the strategic advantage in violent combat, and would like to confirm their enemies are a threat by inciting them to violence which must be quashed) simply do not fight. People practicing peaceful protest evade a game whose architecture is such they stand a slim chance of winning. Even so there must certainly be people who are simply acted on, or whose actions are acted on, without any opportunity to evade or manipulate the game. Possibly there remains a potential to modify the actions of a torturer if you are the victim, displaying more agony than you are experiencing may make them finish sooner, you can decide to comply or resist in various ways - even at this extent it could be argued that the victim can develop strategies to manipulate the situation. Once this potential is entirely eradicated, the game is over - there is no more freedom or power. Presumably the joy a torturer gains is only there so long as the victim's recalcitrance remains. In some cases though the torturer is not so much interacting with the victim as with peers - "Interrogators often lost control. The temptation to do so must have been overwhelming when three young men, armed with heavy sticks, whips and with access to an electric current and other devices were locked in a room with a helpless, shackled, supposedly "dangerous" prisoner. Under such conditions, as Wilfred Sofsky has pointed out, "if violence is considered normal in a social collective, it gradually becomes a binding nonn[sic]". Ma Meang Keng (alias Rin), a former interrogator, confessed that violence was both a dead end and its own reward, as he recalled a deceptively relaxed conversation with his colleagues"52 - it is a social practice, in which one must do the accepted thing, or play out the expected routine of torturing the victim, without much consideration for the victim, in which case the torturer is not so much playing against the victim, as playing with his peers, using the victim as a 'thing', not a recalcitrant subject. None the less people don't torture stones.

From these minor personal examples there seem to be strategies at play. One is to ignore, shrug off and treat with indifference, in a sense to be passive about, those identities constructed for us through discourse and often manifested physically through actions on bodies. This kind of passivity is not merely the passivity that is the absence of power but is a strategic action. It may be done to 'live to fight another day', or to step outside the 'architecture', and sometimes while doing this propose another way, manipulating the ways of subjection. Simply the act of indifference implies the possibility of another way, which is not necessarily clearly defined. Those people who become most significant, who are more 'real' even after their death than those who die in anonymity, are generally not those who successfully achieve the fruition of a metanarrative (has that ever happened?) but who change the way people are identified, who change the architecture of the governance of subjectification - those who redefine, who invent metanarratives.

Before continuing I hope you will indulge just one more, more subtle, example. When I was a young man, having grown up for the most part in the suburbs, the kind of possible life that lay before me that I found most abhorrent was the 'normal' (in Australia) life of living in a brick veneer suburban house, married with '2.5' children, driving to work every day to a meaningless job, paying of a mortgage, to come home to watch TV eat dinner and sleep, getting up the next day to do the same thing over and over again. I did everything I could to avoid it, aiming to put myself in a position where even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to take up that life. I avoided work, couldn't drive, studied arts, stayed awake all night writing poor quality literary and avant garde fiction, took drugs and drank cheap port, criticised television, made a case against marriage and that bringing children into this world was unethical - in short affecting a typical bohemian lifestyle. Now I am older I have a mortgage, a brick house in the suburbs, am married with 2 children, drive to a 9 to 5 job every day, come home and watch TV, eat dinner go to sleep and get up and do the same thing everyday. I still manage to study philosophy, but have almost had to steal the time to do this from work and in my personal life. The decision to study philosophy met with a lot of resistance at work, where I had to produce a lot of discourse justifying the relevance of philosophy to my job, and some concern among family that I was persisting in foolishness. Now this may simply be the age old story of a boy getting old told across the ages so that it seems more eternal than a consequence of the workings of power that have evolved dynamically into their present form. This may be so but the specifics of the changes are good example of Foucault's description. On one hand the adoption of a bohemian lifestyle is an example of 'government'. An angry young man with delusions of artistic grandeur is presented with a metanarrative, a way of subjecting himself and establishing an identity, that by now represents no threat to Western culture or government or way of life. To employ the clichés, if you want to rebel, you pick up a guitar, put on a beret and drop out (boys don't usually wear berets anymore but you get the point). That is quite safe - we all know that identity and there is a place for it in the architecture of differentiations and control. Indeed, it is well controlled by being transformed into a cliché - any serious comment that may come from a young man with a guitar, wearing a beret and so on is easily poo pooed as coming from a reactionary leftist campus avant garde space cadet conspiracy theorist etc etc. The other point to make is that this is still something 'tolerated' and that the ideal of 'normality' is still encouraged through government. How have my actions been acted upon to lead me where I am today? When I had a child I was concerned to take care of her. I chose to get a job. I reasoned that in this land we are bound by the law of supply and demand, so I determined to transform myself into a unit of labour with skills in high demand (even my barber suggested going into IT). The real estate market in Newcastle was such that my wife and I would have been fools not to miss the opportunity to invest in a home at that time. I needed to be able to drive my wife to hospital for our second child so I learned to drive. It's easy enough to watch whatever is on TV over dinner after work to wind down. At no point in the process of becoming 'normal' did I decide to be so - it was just that the best available choice (given my objectives had changed) along the way favoured that direction. This is an excellent example of the government of docile bodies, the 'end-game' of power, where the 'game' is constructed so that the choices I make to optimise my own benefit inevitably lead to me fitting neatly into the 'architecture' of government. There is no resistance, the available choices are such that they lead me into 'known' places in the architecture of differentiations. I have retained some resistance here and there along the way, but the main point is that it was me who made the decisions and more and more I have come to agree with the view of my former self as a little ridiculous, and even have 'normal' thoughts and feelings - like frustration at being unable to find a park, and annoyance at subsequently getting a parking ticket when the no-parking sign was not clearly visible. Honestly - I can't complain. I subject myself, and even though I am aware through considering Foucault that I am not 'free', since I have not participated in architecting the available choices and their utility, I am quite 'docile' about it. I even sometimes begin to agree with the 'architecture' in many ways - so that if I were to have a say in it, I wouldn't change much. But I am still reminded of an East German I met, who was a child before the Berlin wall came down. I asked him if it really was so terrible as we make out - all grey, with the constant fear of the secret police hanging over you. He said he didn't notice - it was just normal.

Foucault's description is of occurrences that are quite commonplace - people make jokes at work, about their bosses, about the administration and bureaucracy, reclaiming the articulation of their own identity, constructing the identity of their supervisors in the way they wish. The system administrators where I work have a game of trying to get management to say new buzzwords, scoring points for the higher the level of management that says them. It is mundane, but lack of novelty does not make it trivial. It must be important that if we recognise and understand these operations better, we will be better able to be free, both in terms of more subtle machinations of power (whether arising dynamically without overarching direction or by design, or a combination of both) or in situations of immediate threat to life or livelihood.

In Afterword Foucault provides us with a neat list of summary points for the 'concrete analysis of power'53 Each of these points of analysis could be utilised in a strategy of freedom.

"1) The system of differentiations which permits one to act upon the actions of others"54

By recognising these differences, how they come about, are articulated, function and are manifested physically we can, rather than be simply situated within them, either find the position we wish to have within them with greater flexibility, or find ways of rejecting the differences or modifying them. This rejection can be through the indifference described above or by producing other ways of differentiating, by removing physical manifestations of these barriers (eg: the Berlin Wall), or by many other means worked out specifically for the specific situation - keeping in mind that the kind of freedom we are talking about is not simply situating oneself in the established architecture of power, taking up one side in the established opposition, and that freedom is not obtained when this other side is overthrown, but in having an effect on what differences there are, their articulation and function - whether it be economic, cultural, linguistic, determined by law and so on. We may even reject those ways of differentiating - reject partitions between economics, culture and linguistics, ...

"2) The types of objectives pursued by those who act upon the actions of others"55

Could we manipulate or change the objectives pursued? If one seeks status, if we keep it from them, we would only be supporting the architecture of differentiations that constitute the power relation we are in. If an adversary seeks status, why not ignore the relevance of their status and undermine their profits? Alternatively, honestly persuade them their objective is misguided, in their own lingo. The strategy here is to find ways to change those objectives.

"3) The means of bringing power relations into being"56

This may be a difficult one to work with and most likely the one where one is most stuck in traditional situations. For example it is difficult to reject economic disparities simply by becoming rich or ignoring wealth (though that is a common strategy of religious people), or to overcome the threat of arms by simply getting more arms - if these are the means power is exercised, it is difficult to avoid being compelled into these frameworks. If power is exercised through economic disparity, it is difficult to avoid being poor, or rich for that matter, and having to pay attention to economic conditions. The greater the threat of arms, the more one is most likely compelled to fight back or suffer violence, rather than changing the nature of the conflict. This point is perhaps easiest to develop strategy for by working on Foucault's other points - eg: make the means irrelevant by changing the differentiations that make them applicable or modify the objectives - eg: if the means is to build a wall, remove the reason the wall is there (the resistance to removing the Berlin wall diminished with more 'open', 'free market' attitudes to economics on the Eastern side. The differences diminished and the wall came down.).

Consider also the definition of 'asymmetric warfare' in the book already quoted heavily here Future Armies, Future Challenges which has a whole chapter devoted to this topic, describing situations where there are significant disparities between adversaries and where, strategically, one action is not countered in kind: "Metz and Johnson argue that '[A]symmetry is acting, organizing, and thinking differently than opponents in order to maximise one's own advantages, exploit an opponents weaknesses, attain the initiative, or gain greater freedom of action [my emphasis - ed]. It can be political-strategic, military strategic, operational, or a combination of these. It can entail different methods, technologies, values, organizations, time perspectives or some combination of these. It can be short-term or long-term. It can be deliberate or by default. It can be discrete or pursued in conjunction with symmetric approaches. It can have both psychological and physical dimensions.7'"57

For example German bombing of British cities was countered by Britain by bombing German cities - this is an example of 'symmetric' strategy.58 Asymmetric strategy would be more like guerrilla warfare where disparities of arms is countered by disparities in knowledge - the side that has more arms may move its forces very visibly as conventional armies, making their might well known, but have little knowledge of where or when guerrillas will strike next or who they are. In reference to the Gulf War (1991) Group Captain Ian McFarling writes, "Warden's thesis has long been that, with the accuracy provided by the new weapons systems and the protection of the delivery system by stealth technology, it should be possible to attack all elements almost simultaneously or - as he put it - to conduct parallel warfare. This means that the sequence set out in Figure 8.2 [Command structure, Key production, Transportation system, Population and food sources, Fielded military forces - ed] does not have to be in that order. It can be tailored to match the enemy's structure but - and this is the big but of asymmetric warfare - it means that you have to have exceptional intelligence. Of course the Americans were deficient in intelligence, and they were not as culturally skilled as they could have been."59

But what of civilians caught in the middle of all of this, who perhaps have no interest in the metanarratives advocated by either guerrilla's or armies, who just want to get on with living well? How can they exercise their freedom from warmongers? For one thing they can refuse, to the extent possible, the sides proposed - one army against another - and produce discourse that establishes another set of differences, such as peace loving civilians and warmongers, removing distinctions between the two warring sides. How to exert this distinction over that proposed by the warring opponents is a difficult problem, but if the struggle is over the way we are to be subjected, surely we have some leverage.

"4) Forms of institutionalisation"60

Institutions tend to be inert and difficult to change, but there are ways to work with institutionalisation. By understanding institutions, their history, rationalisation, teleology, we can develop technologies for manipulating or participating in the production of their architecture, though specifically how would depend on the specifics of the institution. The knowledge that your current position is contingent and historically produced and not natural can itself assist in the rejection of the specifics of subjectification that are applied in the identification of the self. Knowing the history and contingencies it is easier to criticise the production of your self, rather than merely accepting or rejecting it. There may be personal attributes that prohibit freedom to situate oneself in the institution, precisely those systems of differentiation and means of bringing power relations into being that have resulted in the institution. Again the only recourse may be to re-architect the institution, bring about discourses that make the institution or its internal divisions and operations less relevant, undermine the importance of it's objectives, change differentiations and so on. Of course this may not be easy - it may be an 'agonism'.

"5) The degrees of rationalisation"61
"I think that the word rationalisation is dangerous. What we have to do is analyze specific rationalities rather than always invoking the progress of rationalisation in general."62
Rather than assume rationalisation is good per se, since it optimises efficiency, or increases knowledge, Foucault highlights that there are different rationalisations, which engender different kinds of knowledge and 'efficiencies'. Again, if we are subjected to a rationalisation, we may introduce alternative ways of rationalising. In this point however Foucault is speaking directly of degrees of rationalisation. This concerns the extent to which in some given field (be it the gaining of knowledge about body movements and the implementation of disciplines based on this to ever greater detail for the speed of loading a gun in the military63, speeding a production line, or processing in-patients in a hospital ward) knowledge is gained informing techniques applied to some end. Presumably this is dependant on the quantity of resources that can be brought to bear in rationalising efforts. If a person is subjected to a rationalism they do not like they could again, criticise it openly (creating discourse about it) attempt to overload it with more information than resources can handle, or introduce new things to rationalise, raising or creating problems to divert rationalisation resources from this specific field. For example, if there is an intention to rationalise behaviour in the workplace, workers could misbehave, stretching the observation resources, and opening more space for unobserved behaviour, or highlight, invent or cause some crisis that represents a more significant problem drawing resources away. We still need to retain the idea that Foucault's central point is not that rationalisation is imposed, restricting the freedom of the worker, but that there is a dual interaction that is constitutive of what is being rationalised. That there be such a thing as 'workplace behaviour' and the responsibility to behave certain ways (which may to a greater or lesser extent be encouraged through rationalisation and the other points above) and the constitution of a 'freedom to behave as I choose in the workplace' depends upon the possibility of action upon the action of others, which depends upon the potential for recalcitrance, the actuality of resistance, and is worked out and developed in specificity (what the specific legislation, actions and 'freedoms' from them are) through the complex interaction of events, knowledge, rationales, discourse and so on. The possibility of this 'freedom' or that 'rationalisation' is dependant on the mutuality of the behaviour that is 'inefficient' calling for rationalisation, rather than docile acceptance of actions on workers. It is a clash of wills. In short it arises through resistances. But we need to retain the understanding that it is not a matter of creating a diversionary tactic to allow space for the exercise of a 'freedom' - this specific 'freedom', owes its existence to the resistance to it. Rather our freedom is exercised in the act of exerting some control on the architecture of rationalisation, rather than submitting to the architectures (the systems of differentiation) we find ourselves subjected to. Rather than simply acting out the roles, we need to take a part in writing and directing the play.

It would be a mistake in wishing to exercise freedom to simply seek out any and all instances of differentiation, objectives, means of bringing power relations into being, institutionalisation and rationalisation and to mount strategies against them. Foucault frequently reminds us that he doesn't wish to say that all forms of subjection are necessarily bad, but that 'for better or for worse' he wants to describe how they come into being. He reminds us that he is taking a detached stance, describing, analysing, investigating a history or 'genealogy', accounting, searching, rather than taking up a position, eg: "Let there be no misunderstanding: I do not claim that sex has not been prohibited or barred or masked or misapprehended since the classical age; nor do I even assert that it has suffered these things any less from that period on than before... In short, I would like to disengage my analysis from the privileges generally accorded to the economy of scarcity and the principles of rarefaction, to search instead for instances of discursive production (which also administer silences, to be sure), of the production of power (which sometimes have the function of prohibiting), of the propagation of knowledge (which often cause mistaken beliefs or systematic misconceptions to circulate); I would like to write the history of these instances and their transformations."64 A better approach for us would be to adopt a critical attitude to all instances of differentiation, objectives, means of bringing power relations into being, institutionalisation and rationalisation that we may, and decide for ourselves whether to accept them or not. It would be easy enough to see that the construction of a 'medical' subject, accepting that we are subjected this way so that we have a better idea of when we are sick and need to go to hospital, and the rationalisation that expedites the processing of in and out patients in a hospital can be beneficial to ourselves and others. On the other hand if we are limited to only ever being treated as a 'medical' subject we would want to be more than an 'interesting' or 'exemplary specimen' and find ways to re-architect the means by which we are identified. We must be critical and sagaciously choose when to be docile and when to act. We need also to recognise that power and freedom arise socially, both in terms of being in a relation of power and freedom with others, and in identifying as being the same in certain regards, or being allies, with others. In developing strategies for freedom, for participating in the construction of our own and others subjectivity, we should to take care not to limit others to being 'objects' within some metanarrative we are strategically advocating. Power and freedom are ethical relations, which means, within the scope of this essay, that we need to consider other people not merely as 'things' or 'objects' (a finite and limited subjectivity that is imposed, not produced discursively) within some architecture, not limited to the subjectification proposed within some metanarrative, but as equally as capable as ourselves at criticising or changing those architectures or metanarratives. None of us are merely manipulated, we also manipulate, and it would be wise to recognise others as capable of this (both to avoid underestimating our opponent, and to avoid merely replacing one metanarrative with another, being always already trapped). While this essay tries to treat Foucault's work favourably and learn what it has to teach, we should also criticise Foucault, and think of what is beyond his work, what he hasn't considered (eg: Foucault is reluctant to advocate strategies for freedom though these are implicit in his work).

It may be worth putting these views, or strategies for freedom, in the simplest possible manner, as a mnemonic tool (and at the risk of sounding trite), hopefully without restricting the scope or purport of Foucault's work ("The term 'power' designates relationships between partners (and by that I am not thinking of a zero-sum game, but simply, and for the moment staying in the most general terms, of an ensemble of actions which induce others and follow from one another)."65), but opening up possibilities for the exercise of freedom and encouragement of a critical attitude. Since Foucault is talking about 'strategy' in the agonism in the microphysics of power/freedom, consider Game Theory - a formalisation of strategy. Game theory assumes those points laid out by Foucault as being the way the word strategy is employed: "The word strategy is currently employed in three ways. First, to designate the means employed to attain a certain end; it is a question of rationality functioning to arrive at an objective. Second, to designate the manner in which a partner in a certain game acts with regard to what he thinks should be the action of the others and what he considers the others think to be his own; it is the way in which one seeks to have the advantage over others. Third, to designate the procedures used in a situation of confrontation to deprive the opponent of his means of combat and to reduce him to giving up the struggle; it is a question therefore of the means destined to obtain victory."66 Much of the formalisation of a game, and of game theory in general, depends on fixing the goals or outcomes each 'player' has. Some formalisations show that either player could be the winner, sometimes depending on who moves first, or that there will be a stalemate, that all choices have the same outcome, or success by degrees, that there may or may not be mutual information about the other players moves and various other formulations. It also depends on there being a limited set of possible moves and outcomes. The utility of any outcome for each player is also neatly quantified. A formalised game is very limited in scope, and the sense the game makes is restricted to only that limited scope. If another factor is introduced into the game the nature of the game and the participants' choices change dramatically. The classic example used to introduce most discussions of game theory is 'the prisoners' dilemma'. The only way for the prisoner to 'win' the prisoners dilemma is to introduce other factors to the game - to change the architecture of the game. The prisoners dilemma is based on that assumption that each prisoner will realise that if the other prisoner confesses they will personally be better off confessing before they do, and if they don't they will still be better off confessing before the other does, so that either way each prisoner decides to confess. This is despite the fact that if neither confesses, collectively they would be better off. But if there is a degree of fraternity (the two have a code of honour and would never betray each other) or external threat outweighing the threat within the game (if either confesses the mafia boss will kill them), the form of the game is radically changed and the prisoners will make different choices. Again the police may apply techniques to make these new factors irrelevant to the prisoner - offers of protection, convincing the prisoner their co-prisoner is already breaking under the pressure etc. Additional factors introduced to the game can create very different consequences and radically alter players' moves or choices. If one finds oneself in a game where all outcomes appear bad, the obvious strategy would be to introduce new factors. If power involves action upon the actions of others, the best strategy is to manipulate the choices open to the other 'player' so that they are compelled into either a 'checkmate' situation where the only moves available are 'losing' moves (the end of the game, the end of the resistances that constitute power/freedom), or the optimal choice for the opponent is the outcome desired. At risk of over using the popular prefix, this would be a 'metagame'. If, given the architecture of the game you cannot choose to be the winning player, change the rules of the game. It's not about winning the game, it's about changing the rules.67

Foucault's central thesis is that power and freedom are not in a negative relation - that one persons power is not added to by the subtraction of another's freedom - and that knowledge, identity and freedoms are not pre-existing waiting to be uncovered. Rather it is that power and freedom are both positive forces, are both 'will', and it is at localised points of 'resistance' among these forces that knowledge, identity, powers and freedoms emerge discursively as 'government' and strategy, action on the actions of others, in a complex and circular relation. To claim that Foucault does not allow for the possibility of freedom, because if we accept his views, we must always be subjected to one metanarrative or other, one form of power or subjection or another, or that even if we grant that freedom may be in choosing one metanarrative over another our choice must be determined by how we are subjected under some already existing metanarrative such that we may never be free since we will always have been conditioned by metanarrative, is to misunderstand Foucault. Foucault has most likely often avoided the word 'freedom' as a strategy to avoid simplistic 'juridico-discursive' understandings of his work, though he does explicitly discourse on 'freedom' in Afterword. In Foucault's work we find a description of both power and freedom not as opposites, but as both positive 'forces' producing points of 'resistance' around which knowledge, discourse, identity and specific 'powers' and 'freedoms' are dynamically produced. The freedoms and powers we speak of arise as a result of these 'resistances'. To strive to avoid power then would be to avoid freedom. It would be an attitude of docility where there is not resistance nor even the possibility of freedom conceived. It is possible to extrapolate a technology of freedom from Foucault - not to say truly what freedom is, but since it only arises through action, action on the actions of others, to suggest how we can practice it. To be free is to actively adopt a critical attitude towards the metanarratives we are subjected in and subject ourselves to and take an active part in the production of knowledge and discourse and our own subjection. There are a variety of strategies we could adopt to do this, such as rearchitecting systems of differentiation, making institutions irrelevant, even a strategic docility may be occasioned, but the working of power and freedom are so complex and dynamic that it is difficult to provide simple rules in completeness. Given a general understanding of Foucault's description of power and freedom, and how we may be free, that it may be a matter of 'writing the rules of the game' rather than 'winning it', we should be able to devise strategies for exercising freedom in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

FOOTNOTES

1. Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
2. Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
3. Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
4. Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
5. p90, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
6. p92 Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
7. p91 Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
8. p91 Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
9. Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
10. Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
11. p91, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
12. 26, Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
13. p27, Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
14. p99, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
15. p29, Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
16. p96, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
17. p95, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
18. p94, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
19. p221, Davidson, Arnold I 'Archaeology, Genealogy, Ethics', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
20. Hogan, Padraig Paidea http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHoga.htm, date accessed: 14/04/2004
21. Hogan, Padraig Paidea http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHoga.htm, date accessed: 14/04/2004
22. The notion of 'pastoral power' in the West, is an undercurrent in much of Foucault's work. In many respects we are, for example not dictated to, or have knowledge imposed on us, but on the contrary are encouraged to produce ourselves through confessing ourselves, yielding up the knowledge we keep secret, as we would in a Christian confessional - at a local and personal level, as part of a larger administration (the church). In some respects science and science applied to people do not dictate laws, but ask the world and people to 'yield up their secrets'. (see pp33 - 73, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998) Foucault also makes analogies with the Christian 'cell' in which Christians would meditate on their soul, and the prison cell and their confessions, in which the prisoners' identity or 'subjectivity' would be produced, in Discipline and Punish. For a summary see pp213-216, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
23. pp195-228 Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
24. pp82-84, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
25. p83, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
26. p94, Taylor, Charles 'Foucault on Freedom and Truth', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
27. p90, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
28. p95, Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
29. p48, Rorty, Richard 'Foucault and Epistemology', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
30. p47, Rorty, Richard 'Foucault and Epistemology', in Hoy, David (ed.) Foucault: A Critical Reader Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1987
31. Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
32. p139, MacFarling Ian 'Asymmetric Warfare: myth or reality?', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
33. pp220-221, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
34. p170, Lewis, Duncan in Rose, Michael; Lewis, Duncan; Peters, Ralph; Menon, Raja and Williams, Clive 'A Debate On The Challenge Posed By Terrorism', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
35. p174, Lewis, Duncan in Rose, Michael; Lewis, Duncan; Peters, Ralph; Menon, Raja and Williams, Clive 'A Debate On The Challenge Posed By Terrorism', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
36. p179, Rose, Michael in Rose, Michael; Lewis, Duncan; Peters, Ralph; Menon, Raja and Williams, Clive 'A Debate On The Challenge Posed By Terrorism', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
37. pp171-172, Menon, Raja in Rose, Michael; Lewis, Duncan; Peters, Ralph; Menon, Raja and Williams, Clive 'A Debate On The Challenge Posed By Terrorism', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
38. p220, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
39. Warren, David Through The Eyes Of Our Enemies Proquest, http://0-proquest.umi.com.newcutter.newcastle.edu.au/pqdweb?index=2&did=000000608402791&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1081770064&clientId=29744 , date accessed: 14/04/2004
40. Warren, David Through The Eyes Of Our Enemies Proquest, http://0-proquest.umi.com.newcutter.newcastle.edu.au/pqdweb?index=2&did=000000608402791&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1081770064&clientId=29744 , date accessed: 14/04/2004
41. p17, Peters, Ralph 'The West's future foes: simplification and slaughter', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
42. p18, Peters, Ralph 'The West's future foes: simplification and slaughter', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
43. p169, Peters, Ralph 'The West's future foes: simplification and slaughter', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
44. IRINnews.org UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39310&SelectRegion=Central_Asia&SelectCountry=AFGHANISTAN date accessed: 01/July/2004 . See also BBC News Afghanistan Retakes Heroin Crown http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2814861.stm date accessed: 01/July/2004
45. p24, Peters, Ralph 'The West's future foes: simplification and slaughter', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
46. p169, Peters, Ralph 'The West's future foes: simplification and slaughter', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
47. p213, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
48. pp221-222, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
49. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
50. p212-213, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
51. Islamic Human Rights Commission (26/June/2004) Winners of Islamophobia Awards Announced http://server792.dnslive.net/~ihrc/show.php?id=1124 date accessed: 01/July/2004
52. Chandler, David Documenting Torture in Pol Pot's Secret Prison http://www.history.neu.edu/fac/burds/dc.html date accessed: 01/July/2004
53. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
54. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
55. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
56. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
57. p303, Ryan, Allan 'Conclusion Early 21st-Century And The Challenge Of Unrestricted Warfare', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
58. pp148-153, MacFarling Ian 'Asymmetric Warfare: myth or reality?', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
59. p154, MacFarling Ian 'Asymmetric Warfare: myth or reality?', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
60. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
61. p223, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
62. p210, Afterword, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
63. p153, Foucault, Michel Discipline And Punish, the Birth Of The Prison Penguin, London, 1991
64. p12 Foucault, Michel The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 Penguin Books London 1998
65. p217, Afterword, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
66. pp224-225, Afterword, Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
67. As a simple example, consider again the prisoner's dilemma. There are many ways in which changing the game radically alters the outcomes. The ways games may be altered are commonplace and trivial yet create a great deal of complexity and are extremely sensitive to context - to influences outside the game. While any modelling in game theory is fragile, the ways they may be modified are worth looking at because formalisations and where they are problematic often help understanding. In the prisoners' dilemma game there are 2 principal actors. The two prisoners each have only two options, deny or confess. Each develops a strategy based on the information he has (what s/he thinks the other prisoner will do). Each outcome has a utility for each player, expressed as years in jail, which may be summed to see the collective utility of their choices. The game assumes both are intent on optimising their personal utility, but if either or both have a sense of honour or fraternity so they would never confess and betray eachother, or if there is an external threat such as a crime boss will have them murdered if they confess, the utility for each prisoner of confessing and denying changes dramatically and the outcome is entirely different. They will both deny, and optimise their collective utility. If their fraternity extends so far that they regard themselves as 'one people' by virtue of their common identity, then the game may be reduced to one player with a choice of deny or confess and the choice is simply deny (hence the resilience of social groups and loyalty, and the counter strategy of 'divide and conquer'). This is one way of 'changing the game' - modify the utility of the players' choices.

Another way is to introduce other options - for example, the prisoner might have the choice between deny, confess, or threaten. The prisoner may threaten the police officer. This also introduces another player, the police officer, and a whole new set of options available to the police officer - to cave in to the threat, or to resist it, and whether to believe it at all. Whether he believes it at all is not really the choice of the police officer, s/he simply does or doesn't but you could model the prisoners' strategies based on whether they were choosing a strategy given the possibility the officer may or may not believe. Clearly in real life games completely change as a result of any simple external influence.

So you can: 1) modify the utility of players' choices; 2)introduce new options and 3) introduce new players. We can model this 'metagame' as a game.

Player A likes the game because he can select which player he is which allows him to choose to be in the optimal position.
Player B doesn't like the game because she cannot select which player she is, and will be in the least optimal position.

In the following diagrams the utility of the players for each combination of options is Player A on the left and Player B on the right (eg: if B were to change the game, and A were to change the game the utility below would be -1 for Player A, ie they would not benefit from a changed game, and +1 for Player B, they would benefit from a changed game).

|------------------------------------|
| | Player B |
|-------------------|----------------|
| | KEEP | CHANGE |
|-------------------|-------|--------|
| | KEEP | +1,-1 | -1,+1 |
| Player A |--------|-------|--------|
| | CHANGE | 0,-1 | +1,+1 |
|------------------------------------|

This is a very simplified picture of the game and the utility would be influenced by complicating factors such as the cost of resources available to make the change, the limits on those resources and expected benefits etc, but it serves to illustrate the point.

If B decides to keep the game player A will also keep the game (since it would be a waste of resources to change an already winning position). If A decides to keep the game, B will change the game (since she has the chance of a winning position if changing to a game she may be better able to control). If B changes the game A will also change the game (since the benefits of the game will probably be diminished if B changes it in her favour, and A is still playing by the old rules). Changing the game is the 'dominant strategy' It should also be clear that A will try not to change the game as it would cost resources. This can produce another simple model of this, where for A the cost of change is equal to the benefits and for B the cost of change is less than the benefits, as:
|------------------------------------|
| | Player B |
|-------------------|----------------|
| | KEEP | CHANGE |
|-------------------|-------|--------|
| | KEEP | +1,-1 | -1,+1 |
| Player A |--------|-------|--------|
| | CHANGE | 0,-1 | 0,+1 |
|------------------------------------|

In this situation B continually tries to change and A continually tries to keep the game. There is no dominant strategy, but it may be worth noting that an individual could switch from being in position Player A to being Player B and back. Eg: Robert could be A and Sally B. When Sally changes the game she wants to keep it, so is now in the A position and Robert in the B position who then changes the game, then wants to keep it and so on. Also, Player A could attempt to diminish the utility of change to player B, such as by promising punishment, ameliorating their role in the game so that their utility in it means they are reconciled to their role, or institutionalising their behaviour so they have little time to devote to rationalising the architecture of a new game, and so on. Either player could introduce new players, again affecting the utilities of the game.

It should be clear that this metagame is dynamic, though it is a simple model it indicates a tendency for 'games', architectures of power and freedom, to change.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Foucault, Michel 'Afterword, The Subject And Power' in Dreyfus, Hubert L. and Rabinow, Paul (eds) Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics with an afterword by and an interview with Michel Foucault", 2nd ed., 1983, pp.208-226
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Rose, Michael; Lewis, Duncan; Peters, Ralph; Menon, Raja and Williams, Clive 'A Debate On The Challenge Posed By Terrorism', in Evans, Michael; Ryan, Alan and Parkin, Russell (eds) Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare In The Information Age Allen & Unwin, 2004
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Craig said...

Although I'm not a philosopher, I ended up writing in great detail on Taylor and Habermas in my M.A. thesis. (A significantly condensed version that remains a work in progress is available on my site; fortunately, no references to either Habermas or Taylor.) Simply put, they absolutely misunderstand Foucault on every single point!

I've only scanned through your essay, so I'm likely repeating points you've already made, ... . The first thing to notice when reading Foucault is that power is developed in two phases: first, in the middle period of Discipline and Punish and La volente a savoir (along with the accompanying lectures) and, second, in the final period, which is primarily concerned with ethics, in the form of the three essays, "The Subject and Power" (two joined essays) and "What is Enlightenment?". The concept of power differs significantly between the two phases and it is more or less impossible to simply integrate one into the other without doing serious conceptual work.

Where they (Taylor, for instance) go wrong is that they don't know how to read Foucault. He only knows how to read analytic philosophy -- and it shows when he's discussing non-analytic philosophy. He's painful to read!

Foucault's point with the analytic is really strange to an analytical philosopher. There seems to be two moments in his argument: an immanent and a transcendent. (We might want to call it a residual Kantianism.) The transcendent moment concerns the elements of the analytic: notably, force, resistance, and relation. These three, more or less, give structure to the analytic. The immanent moment is that power does not exist as such. Rather, power is what we call the motion of the transcendent moment: when forces collide, power erupts. This is what he means when he says, "we must be nominal". Power as such does not exist; that's why a contract or commodity model is impossible: there's is nothing to contract or exchange.

Power, then, is what we call when two or more forces collide with one another. (As an aside I'm not going to develop, but forces are embodied in something: objects, subjects, concepts, etc; an idea has a force-effect, for instance.) This is where resistance fits in. Foucault tells us that power and resistance exist together. This is because power is the outcome of a clash of force. Picture two forces colliding: if one destroys or swallows up the other, there has been no 'power relation'; but, if one resists the other, then there is a 'power relation'. Prior to the event, it is impossible to calculate the more 'powerful' force. The power is a consequence of the event (hence the point of genealogy). Thus, two forces collide and it is, strangely, up to the weaker force to command situation. The weaker force can either submit, fight, or engage in trickery. Once the weaker force has resisted the stronger force, there is an event and thus power.

What, then, of freedom? If 'power' essentially produces reality (where reality is the accumulation of events), how can we speak of freedom? There, clearly, is nothing beyond power except a transcendent phantasy. And this makes sense. Why speak of a transcendent freedom outside of power if it does not and can not exist? Taylor is just lying when he does this. There is no absolute freedom and speak as though there is is nonsense. What we do have, however, is an ontology that begins with resistance. Freedom only makes sense relatively and in terms of intensity (more or less freedom). What we have, then, is a priority of resistance and freedom both actually and analytically over 'power' and domination.

You can, of course, say that this makes no sense. But the counter-argument makes no sense on Taylor's terms. You won't find many people talking about Foucault in this way and this is, clearly, just a sketch, but I think it is more or less correct. More correct, that is, than Taylor, Walzer, or whatever other Anglo-American philosopher you want to pull out of your ass.

Bill Pascoe said...

Firstly, I have to say, that one of the main purposes of writing this essay was to demonstrate that Foucault is not just pomo garbage, but that power, as he describes it, can be seen happening everywhere - so I had to show its relevance to current world and personal events. (This in addition to how you can maintain freedom, and accept Foucault.) But firstly I had to show how the common conception of freedom (and power), as something that you possess and is taken away by someone who has power, is flawed, and found Taylor a useful example to critique. That's the only thing I've read of Taylor (yes I should have researched harder, but time constraints etc...) Basically the boring Taylor bit is at the beginning, if you read on you might find the rest more interesting, at least the American military man's quotes are amusing, or would be if they didn't get people killed.

So basically I agree with what you say about Taylor and Foucault, and powers and freedoms arising ontologically through the dynamics of force and resistance. Basically what I'm getting at is that when it comes down to it power and freedom are synonymous, and both come into being through those dynamics of force and resistance. But we need not be simply blindly caught up in them, or unwitting actors. What I'm trying to say is that if you understand power in Foucault's terms, you can excercise a kind of 'meta-freedom' or 'meta-power'. If you *understand* what's going on, in Foucault's terms, you can retain some agency, by choosing whether to partake in the roles in the games and particular freedoms and powers that come into being through resistance, or to reject them, or potentially to manipulate them, or even create your own freedoms and powers by setting up resistances at strategically chosen points - or to put it another way to decide which subject we are, to choose whether to accept or reject one subjection or another, and to play a part or influence the ways in which we are subjected. I acknowledge this is often more easier said than done but I'd suggest that doing so would be a more successful strategy for each of us, to be free, than the usual flag waving or taking up arms that goes along with the 'common' conception of freedom - hence Foucault is relevant and useful.