Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Asli Daldal, Power and Ideology in Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci: A Comparative Analysis, Review of History and Political Science, Vol 2 No 2 June 2014

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In devising their theories of power and ideology both Gramsci and Foucault make use of Machiavelli’s notion of “relations of force”. They therefore diffuse the power relations to the complex mechanisms of society. Power in Gramscian analysis resides in ideology. Or in other words, to be conscious of the complex social network-hegemonic forces-within which an individual realizes himself already generates power. Once a social group is able to modify the ensemble of these relations and make it “common sense”, it is creating a hegemonic order. The concept of power is everywhere in Foucault’s analyses as well as in his theory. Power is “omnipresent”. It comes from everywhere and is produced every moment. Similar to Gramsci, Foucault also sees power as a relation of force that only exists in action. Foucault’s basic difference from Gramsci is that the latter saw power relations in terms of binary oppositions(such as the leaders and the led, the rulers and the ruled etc.). For Foucault though, power, as well as the resistance it generates, are diffused and not localized in some points.

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