Home > Jacques Rancière, Michel Foucault, poliitika, Todd May, vastupanu, võim > Todd May “Anarchism from Foucault to Rancière”

Todd May “Anarchism from Foucault to Rancière”

May, Todd 2009. Anarchism from Foucault to Rancière. – Amster, Randall; DeLeon, Abraham; Fernandez, Luis A.; Nocella, Anthony J.; Shannon, Deric (eds). Contemporary Anarchist Studies: An introductory anthology of anarchy in the academy. London and New York: Routledge: 11-17

There is no analogy of the form the state: anarchism:economy:Marxism. We might define domination instead as referring more broadly to oppressive power relations. Since some people think of power and oppression as coextensive, we might be tempted to simplify the definition of domination to a reference to power relations. However, this will not do. For reasons we will see when we turn to Foucault, the existence of power by itself is no guarantee of oppression. (12)

If domination is elastic, then its different appearances are irreducible to a specific form of domination. (12)

First, if power is creative in the way Foucault describes, and if it arises in the welter of practices in which we participate, then there can be oppression without there being oppressors. Since power is not simply a matter of what A does to B, but can be a matter of who A is made to be by the practices in which she is engaged, then it is possible that A can be oppressed without there being a B that actually does the oppressing. (14)

The second conclusion, in a sense a complement to the first, is that there can be relationships of power that are not oppressive. […] Our practices, individually and in combination with others, are constantly creating us to be certain kinds of beings. And since power is pervasive, we cannot avoid asking which relations of power are oppressive and which are not. Looking at an arrangement of power, we must ask whether it is creating something that is bad for those who are subject to it. (14)

[For Ranciére] A democratic politics is ultimately a resistance against the mechanisms of an order that distributes roles on the basis of hierarchical presuppositions. (15)

What is key to understanding Rancière’s view is to grasp the role that the concept of equality plays. First and foremost, it is not a demand, but rather a presupposition. There may well be demands associated with a democratic politics; indeed, there usually are. However, what characterizes a political movement as democratic is not the demands it makes but the presupposition out of which it arises. (16)

In Rancière’s view, what arises out of a democratic politics is a political subject. In fact, he calls the emergence of a democratic politics  subjectification. Where there were once scattered individuals dominated by the mechanisms of a police order, with the appearance of a democratic politics there is a collective subject of resistance […] (16)

And just as Foucault shows how specific forms of domination arise within specific historical trajectories, Rancière conceives how resistance to those forms of domination can occur without resorting to any form of identity politics. (16)

We cannot resist now, and create equality later. (16)

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