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Derek Hook “Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power”

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Hook, Derek 2010. Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Introduction

The aim of this book is thus to introduce both of these methodological and politico-historical preoccupations together, to put Foucault’s genealogical writings to work as a means of critically re-conceptualizing aspects of psychological knowledge and practice, first and, correspondingly, as a means of grounding a set of radical research methods, second. (2)

Foucault’s analytics of power, that is to say, does not follow the route of ‘grand theory’; his is not the project of writing power’s ontology, of outlining its overall struc-ture. In many ways, Foucault’s is precisely a de-theorizing project that aims to resist final formularizations of power in favour of the attempt to generate solid analytic grounds from which we may fix aspects of its operational force and logic. (3)

[…] Foucault’s conception of discourse is situated far more closely to the analysis of knowledge, materiality and power than it is to language. (5)

1 – Disciplinarity and the Production of Psychological Individuality

Firstly, although the relationship of sovereignty does connect political power with the body, such an attempt at co-ordination is marred by continuous disjunc-tion – bodies and power are not coterminous entities in this era of power. Secondly, we are as such confronting a form of power without a broadly individualizing function, a political mode which outlines individuality only in the figure of the sovereign, and even then at the cost of paradoxical multiplication of the body. (11)

Returning though to a focus on the era of humanist reform, it is no longer primarily the body, but souls or minds that increasingly come to be seen as the primary targets of correction, targets treated not through the means of pain, but through signs and representations. (13)

Moreover, claims Foucault, we see in such ‘prime values’ of humanism the promise of a kind of agency, be it that of human rights, the power of truth, or the prerogatives of liberty, despite that such relations of authority and control are centred elsewhere, in systems of power beyond the level of the subject. We have thus a series of ‘pseudo-sovereignties’ – in which psychological formulations, along the lines of notions of consciousness, play a key role – a series of apparent inviolable human prerogatives which appear to be centred upon the human subject but which generally operate at a different level of benefit and efficacy: that of modern disciplinary systems of power. (14)

The examination is a mode of disciplinary scrutiny that Foucault studies in consid-erable  detail. As Davidson (2003) remarks, ‘The examination is that form of knowledge and power that gives rise to the “human sciences” ’(p. xxiii). Why the examination represents such a crucial advance in the technology of power is that it functions as a measure of potentiality. The examination is not limited to the past, to the single deviant or criminal act that has already taken place, it is a measure of the subject’s future capability, their prospective dangerousness to society. While legal punishment, strictly speaking, bears on an act, the broader array of punitive techniques needs to bring into focus the details of an entire life: the subject must be linked to their offence in a variety of ways, by reference to questions of instincts, drives, tendencies, their character and so on (Foucault, 2003b). (16)

We may thus understand ‘human technologies’ as discrete sets of practicable knowledge and expertise, as disciplinary arrays of technical skills and analytical procedures. Such technologies necessarily entail their own professional vocabularies – discrete languages of codi-fication and control – along with their own regimes of treatment and analysis. They remain in the hands of select experts; they maintain a particular form of change or betterment as their stated objective; their implementation, as Foucault frequently emphasizes, brings about an increase in the productivity, the efficiency and the effectiveness of given relations of power. (21)

The physicality of the disciplinable body so neglected by humanist reformers returns in disciplinarity as power’s first point of purchase, as the surface upon which discipline would focus its powers, at least, as Miller (1994) notes, in the earliest stages of its deployment. (21)

The disciplinary body is the body fixed in regimes of time, space and prac-tice, the body as it is trained, educated, rehabilitated and healed. This is a surface of power that needs be viewed in conjunction with the correlate soul-effects that are thus established, a ‘body-function’ that must be grasped in the terms of the self-regulations, the norms, the expanding set of personalized lessons and self-knowledge – the psychology-effects in short – that it subsequently comes to emit, to recreate, to maintain and implement over itself – this is the body in discipline. (22)

As intimated above, the reflexive (or, as we might put it, psychologized) subject, brought about through a disciplinary mode of subjectification, might be taken to be discipline’s most impressive product. (27)

In other words, disciplinary interventions are, ideally, pre-emptive, occurring prior to the translation of intention into act. The soul is the explanatory vehicle that can best enable the necessary order of predictions; the soul moreover, and the chain of associated psycho-logical terms through which it must now be understood, is precisely the point at which the virtual in the subject can be apprehended before it is realized. (29)

Disciplinary mechanisms are able, in other words, via extractions, productions of knowledge, to produce a kind of singularity of the individual. This individualizing capacity, crucially, works differentially; rather than bending its subjects into a single uniform mass, disciplinarity cultivates differences, it separates and distinguishes, it makes unique. (30)

[…] an important distinction – one deserving of more attention in Foucault – between subjectification and subjectivization. In terms of the former, I have in mind – as discussed above – the promotion and elaboration of a thoroughly individualizing set of knowledges about the singular subject who is effectively normalized and psychologized as a result. The knock-on effect of such practices, the feeding back of such knowledges to a subject who comes to apply such notions, to under-stand and experience themselves in the terms of subjectification, is what I understand as subjectivization. This, in short, is the difference between being accorded a subject-position, and what it might mean to take on, to assume or personalize, such a subject-position. (31)

Individualization, in all of the capacities discussed above – as a func-tion of subjectification and subjectivization alike – remains for Foucault a contingent phenomenon, an after-effect of the functioning of modern disciplinary power. (31)

Import-antly, what is illustrated by the example of the Panopticon is not just a relation of self- consciousness, or a relation of continuous self-awareness, what is also implied is a complex relation of virtuality to action, of the present to the future, a relation, in other words, of self to potentiality. (33)

(The ambiguities of this term serves us well here: the speaking subject is both subject to their own speaking and the subject of what is spoken about, in addition to being that subject that is speaking – a reflexive looping of self into discourse that epitomizes the subjectivization discussed above.) (36)

Foucault (1978a) insists, it is increasingly only through the mediation of expert interpreters – doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and coun-sellors – that the individual can properly know the truth of their own internal nature. (37)

What also needs to be considered here is the possibility that disciplinary power involves a number of psychological prerequisites for the achievement of disciplinary effects; such preconditions may stand as absolute precon-ditions that need to be attained if this particular power of ‘mind over mind’ is to be at all possible. (45)

Higher mental functioning is what ensures that human subjects can be disciplined in a symbolic and self-automating manner; indeed, this is what ensures that humans can be disciplined at a qualitatively different level (entailing developed properties of self-reflexivity and mediation) than animals. The psychological apparatus constituted by this set of higher mental functions presumably thus counts as something of a condition of possib-ility for panopticism to function. (46)

does Foucault’s argument about the diverse and differential production of psychological individualism not oblige him to presume that subjects were undifferentiated and unindividualized before its effects, and not simply conceptually, but practically also? (49)

If this is the case, if there is a minimal degree of psychological functioning in place, then Foucault leaves open the possibility for a type of individual difference that disciplinarity builds upon, animates and extends, rather than producing from the ground up in a total or originating manner. (51)

Or, differently put, we need to discern between psychology as the means through which the subjectivity of modern individuals is formed (the higher mental functions of basic cognitive operations, the awareness of self relative to the ideals of normalizing disciplinarity, types of learning that internalize effects of power and so on), and the formidable cultural and historical apparatus of ‘the psychological’ through which a whole series of related concepts, modes of practice and formations of experience unfold. (53)

On the one hand the psyche is understood as simply produced by disciplinary discourses and institutions. On the other hand, Foucault requires a forerunner of sorts – a ‘proto-psychological’ reference point – which we might equally understand as the psyche – upon which power can be applied. (54)

(Individual psychological functioning may indeed be inseparably linked to power, may never in fact be free of its influence and conditioning without being in effect reducible to it.) (57)

2 – Desubstantializing Power: Methodological Injuctions for Analysis

Differing from those broader-based approaches which view power within the rubrics of signification or economic production and which have instruments of analysis already available to them – as in the case of semiotics and the discipline of economics – the study of the micro-political can rely on no pre-existing tools of analysis. (63)

If the project is to try and escape from insidious modes of subjectivity through which we produce and police ourselves in line with moral orthopaedic norms, then a programme of political awareness like Black Consciousness is less than appro-priate. If, on the other hand, we are concerned with combating a different order of power, such as that of the insidious effects of an institutionalized racism, then a strategy like Black Consciousness does seem a well-suited form of resistance, certainly inasmuch as it offers the tactical possibility for alternative positionings, imaginings, modes of reflection, re-contextualization and contestation that may not otherwise have been possible. (72)

The point is not to dismiss all possibilities of contestation and argumentation, but to question the degree to which we prioritize subjectivity and human individualism as a means of doing so. Subjectivity for Foucault, as discussed in the previous chapter, is something like a reflexive loop – a fold, in Deleuze’s (1988) useful formulation – in which certain principles and values of power are re-inscribed, redistributed at an ostensibly ‘internal’ level. Gordon (1980) puts this well in his rejection of the subject–object polarization that often takes precedence in the analysis of power: such a polariza-tion comes to privilege subjectivity as the form of moral autonomy. We should suspend the assumption that domination falsifies the essence of human subjectivity, asserting instead an awareness that ‘power regu-larly promotes and utilizes a “true” knowledge of subjects[1][1][1][that it] constitutes the very field of that truth’ (p. 239). (73)

In other words, there is an aware-ness of action, a rudimentary sense of effect, a limited appreciation even of rationale and motive that can, in many instances, be located in an agent of sorts – although there is not an awareness of the overarching rationality, the broader consequences of power of which their actions are part. (83)

A question arises at this point: if no dissent emerges as a result of a given arrangement of social ordering, do we even register the presence of a relation of power? We can develop this question in two ways. The first is to speculate whether, in the absence of resistance, prevailing relations of power come to be so naturalized, so thoroughly integrated into the normal order of things that they remain totally undetected, mutely accepted as necessary constituent features of society. If this is the case then one imperative for a project of critique is precisely to bring into critical visibility that which seems beyond reasonable scrutiny, to draw the seemingly apolitical factors of human existence increasingly into the frame of political examination. Here one might suggest that Foucault’s inventive de-substantializing of power is already a mode of resistance inasmuch as it brings into critical visibility a series of relations of power – of human science knowledge, of the truths of humanism – which may not otherwise have been identified as modes of power.

There is also another more critical way of responding to the above question. Granted it may well be the case that in the absence of resist-ance, no relation of power is registered. Might it not also be the case that in the absence of any resistance no relation of power exists at all? A dangerous implication can thus be read out of Foucault’s formula-tions on the interdependence of power and resistance: unless there is some relation of resistance – a relation which presumably also means some stake of interest – the relation thus constituted is not one of power, but of agreement. The obvious rejoinder here is that power may be present despite a lack of any apparent resistance or of an imme-diately identifiable stake of interest. To put it another way, although instances of resistance virtually characterize all interventions of power, we should not necessarily accept that the absence of resistance signals a relationship of agreement or equality. A slight addition then to Foucault’s thoughts on power and resistance: the factor of resistance which is seen as power’s precondition may not always be obvious, overtly present; in such cases it may benefit us to consider what previous relations of resist-ance have existed or what future relations of resistance are imaginable, conceivable. (84-85)

[…] might it not be preferable to understand resistance as that which impedes the flow of power? Resistance then might best be grasped at those points where power stumbles, at those moments of inefficacy where its conductions break down into disarray, at those lapses and gaps in its regime of control. Not simply another form of power then, resistance is power’s failure to assert its complete jurisdiction. (89)

3 – Discourse, Knowledge, Materiality, History: Foucault and Discourse Analysis

Indeed, to realize that truth is a function of discourse is to realize that the conditions of truth are precisely rather than relatively contingent on current forms of discourse. It is in this way ludicrous to read Foucault as suggesting that truth is ‘relative’, in the open sense of the term, where all possible truth-conditions are equal, depending merely on context or interpretative perspective. Foucault views truth-conditions as extremely stable and secure, as situated in a highly specific and idiosyncratic matrix of historical and socio-political circumstances, which give rise to, and are part of, the order of discourse. A skepticism of truth here defers not to a ‘baseless’ relativism, but instead to a carefully delineated set of conditions of possibility under which statements come to be meaningful and true. By ‘conditions of possibility’ Foucault here is referring to materialist conditions that are historically specific and contingent in themselves, rather than in any way ‘transcendental’. (105)

So why they do well to focus on the subject as positioned, commensurate with a Foucauldian view, they also imply the possibility of ‘making self’ through discourse, a situation in which one’s ‘subject–position’ effectively becomes one’s ‘individuality’. We should as such be wary of this application of ‘positioned subjects’ as potentially recuperating a sense of singular agency of discourse. The risk, moreover, is that such a level of analysis returns us to a focus on individuals – or subjects – where it is perhaps more appropriately focussed at a more trans-individual level. (114)

[…] one should approach discourse not so much as a language, or as textuality, but as an active ‘occurring’, as something that implements power and action, and that also is power and action. (120)

Given then that discourse is able to work in discontinuous ways, that discursive practices are able to cross and juxtapose one another with ‘mutual unawareness’ (Foucault, 1981a), we cannot simply speak against discourse, or attempt to liberate a network of repressed discourse lying beneath it. To attempt to ‘give voice’ to a great unspoken risks simply reproducing the criticized discourse in another way. (123)

In other words, the risk we take in engaging discourse chiefly at the textual level is in assuming that this itself is power, and assuming this at the expense of attending to how this textuality – like our own textual interventions – can be differentially utilized by different political interests. (129)

The factor of activity as separable from social thought – as happening ‘prior to’, or in opposition to the formalization of discursive intelligibility – provides our first point of consideration. The possibility that seems to have been missed in Foucault’s theorization of discourse is that physical actions – the doing of practical activity – might challenge, or refute, a particular set of discursive representations. This is by no means to suggest that the realm of activity exists in some ideal sphere beyond the ‘jurisdiction’ of the discursive. It is rather to open up the possibility that the doing of activity might work as a condition of contradiction of various forms of accepted social knowledge, indeed, that it might provide a critical dimension of reformulation or resistance. (136)

4 – Foucault’s Philosophy of the Event: Genealogical Method and the Deployment of the Abnormal

The rival (or counter-) knowledges that genealogy produces are not thus more truthful – something that attacks on Foucaul-dian genealogy frequently misunderstand. In genealogy – developing here a theme introduced in the previous chapter – it is more of a ques-tion of increasing the combative power of potentially subversive forms of knowledge than of simply attempting to amplify their ‘truth-value’, more a tactics of sabotage and disruption than a straightforward head-to-head measuring up of ‘supposed truth’ with a ‘truer’ counter-example. Genealogy thus involves the showing up of certain formations of know-ledge which it in part unforms; genealogy, for Dean (1994), is a form of analysis that ‘suspends contemporary norms of validity and meaning as it reveals their multiple conditions of formation’ (p. 33). (142)

The ‘object’ that genealogy studies is never more than a catalogue of the set of historical vicissitudes against which it gains coherence; this field of events is the ‘ontology’ of the object in question. We are focussed thus on the particular networks of interwoven forces and occur-rences that give such entities a viable ‘objectivity’, a minimal ‘knowab-ility’. Importantly, this implies not only a commitment to history but also a focus on the materiality of practice, the role of subjugation. (153)

[…] the effect of Foucauldian genealogy is to destroy the individual psycholo-gical subject as a primary vehicle of explanation. Genealogy opposes exactly the notion of a necessarily individualized internal psychological universe, exactly that object which is psychology’s privileged subject, the object of analysis it cannot dispense with if it is to maintain its viability as a discrete discipline of knowledge. (171)

We cannot simply forego the question of the psychic life or psychic economy of power, the issue of the ontology of the subject, or, in the terms of my own argument, the fact of how certain psycho-logical/psychic capacities are instrumental factors in the workings of political control or influence. (173)

[…] genealogy works against ontology; indeed it offers us exactly a series of de-ontologizing procedures. It is anti-ontological in a dual sense. Not only does it contest the existence of the standard epistem-ological objects presupposed by the theories of the human sciences, it also opposes metaphysical speculation on the foundational nature of being. (175)

5 – Space, Discourse, Power – Heterotopia as Analytics

It is important thus to reiterate that space is itself an element of discourse. (178)

Quite clearly then, the discursive by no means precludes the spatial: the identities, materiality and practical functionality of places, so long as they are social phenomena that produce and contribute to the construction of social meaning, are amenable to discursive forms of analysis. (179)

Spatiality may thus be operationalized as socially-constructed and socially-practised space, space as intricately intertwined with socio-political and historical relations of power-knowledge, as itself discursive. (180)

A benefit of analyzing space as a discursive resource of subjectivity is that it brings into sharp relief the notion of the subject-position; subjectivity and space are tied together via discourse. Issues of ‘identity’ are as such strictly secondary to questions of subjectification, to issues of discursivity. (180)

Heterotopias are the potentially transformative spaces of society from which meaningful forms of resistance can be mounted. These are the places capable of a certain kind of social commentary, those sites where social commentary may, in a sense, be written into the arrangements and relations of space. (185)

[…]one should not automat-ically assume that the analytics of heterotopia refers exclusively to places. We should apply the notion of the heterotopia as an analytics rather than simply, or literally, as place; it is a particular way to look at space, place or text. (185-186)

Our analysis of hetero-topias then are never discrete to the spatial or textual site that they take as their immediate point of reference, but are rather readings exactly of the ‘thoroughfare’ of practice, meaning and value, engagements exactly of the discursive inter-course between this site and what surrounds and penetrates it. What makes the heterotopia – and what the analysis of the heterotopia yields – is as much its ‘constitutive outside’ as what is ostensibly bound by the boundaries of its space. (189)

[…] spatiality does not simply follow after, duplicating established asymmetries of power; the formation of social space is itself a ‘grounds’ for the estab-lishment of meanings and relations of control. (205)

6 – Governmentality, Racism, Affective Technologies of Subjectivity/Self

The vital distinction here, in ethical versus disciplinary uses of this notion, is a turn to self rather than institutionally operated systems of intelligibility and control. The notion of technologies of subjectivity – as I will go on to discuss in this chapter – refers to a broad set of self-regulative practices, a heterogeneous set of relays, in Rose’s (1991) terms, which bring the ‘varied ambitions of political, scientific, philanthropic and professional authorities into alignment with the ideals[1][1][1] of individuals’ (p. 213). Technologies of self, by contrast, result when such mobile and multivalent technologies of subjectivity came to be ‘enfolded into the person through a variety of schema of self-inspection, self-suspicion, self-disclosure, self-nurturance’ (Rose, 1996a, p. 32). What one is able to plot here is a ‘downward saturation’ of power where certain vocabularies and instrumentations of subjectivity enable ‘the operations of government to be articulated in the terms of the knowledgeable management of the human soul’ (p. 231). (216)

We have thus an analytical means for examining that ‘go-between’ area in which deeply private, individu-alized (and ostensibly ‘internal’) practices of self and subjectivity are already political operations, with broader political objectives and effects that may be dispositionally linked to macro forms of state power. (216)

I want to make the case that many contemporary modes of governmentality do involve a strong conduction of affect, a streaming, or encouragement of certain affective bonds which in many instances do retain powerfully racial-izing elements. (221)

Dreyfus and Rabinow (1982) speak of bio-power as the name Foucault gives to the increased ordering of all realms under the guise of improving the welfare of the individual; bio-politics, by contrast, is to be understood as the calculated life-management of human populations. (227)

At a basic level, one might understand bio-power as the generic category of which bio-politics is a variant. (227)

Bio-politics can thus be understood as that type of bio-power that targets collectivities, constituting its subjects as ‘a people’, ‘a nation’, ‘a race’ (Foucault, 2003a). Or, in Lazzarato’s (2002) terms of emphasis: whereas bio-power begins with the body and its potentials, and seizes life and ‘living being’ as its objects, bio-politics is always necessarily a form of government, it involves a government–population–political economy relationship (for more on this distinction, see Rabinow and Rose, 2003). (227)

[…] there is no question of the body, its health, its betterment, no question of biology, disease or well-being, which is not also a political issue; biology and power have hence become inseparable. More than this: life and power themselves have become inseparable – it is exactly through the regulation of life and life-processes that power exercises its influence, that it guarantees its hold upon us. It is power’s increased preoccupation with the process of life that has so massively widened its jurisdiction, which has resulted in its saturation of virtually all aspects of everyday existence. (228)

On the one hand, we have a mode of power that functions on the capillary level of individuals, optimizing their capabilities, and integrating them, via the route of a self-regulating subjectivity, into systems of economic control. On the other, we have an operation of power that comes from ‘the top down’, that focuses on regulating and predicting the ‘species body’. The latter is a technology of reassurance and security which looks to biological processes rather than to single bodies and that attempts to protect a whole social body from internal dangers, and does so by gathering a massive corpus of data on the resources, capacities and problems of the population. (229)

Hence the imperative to kill is today acceptable only on the basis of the elimination of a threat to a given population; the right to cause death is permissible only on the promise of life to a given populace. (232)

Apparatuses hence are kinds of joiners, diagonal lines of connec-tion cutting across, combining formal dissimilarities. They are hinges, one might say, between the knowledge of spoken and written discourse, and the materialization of this knowledge within the immanent sphere of everyday practice; hinges also, perhaps more accurately, crucially, between macro- (and structural) and micro- (individualized and inter-personal) modalities, between state and capillary forms, between form-alized and spontaneous events of power. (233)

This, incidentally, makes for a useful distinction between apparatuses and technologies. The latter, as a category of analysis, is strongly focused on exactly the minutia of the concrete instrumentation and mechaniz-ation of institutional applications of power; the former, by contrast, is far more concerned with broader political ‘logics’. Foucault’s intent is to evoke the breadth of the ‘implementational logic’ of governmental power; his objective is to emphasize the spread of this power, its exist-ence and ‘rootedness’ across social networks, to reiterate that a given type of power cannot be fixed by studying it in any one situation or context. (234)

The first general apparatus, or ‘rationality of state’, that Foucault discusses is that of the ‘police’.[…] He (1990) speaks about ‘police’ in the sense of a utopian governmental project – as present in the works of French and German political thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – as a set of administrative concerns over people and things, over the relationships between (in the broadest sense) men, property, produce, exchange, territory and the market.[…] At a slightly more general level, one might understand the job of the police as to do with the articulation and administration of tech-niques of bio-power in a way that increases the state’s control over its inhabitants. (235-236)

A second apparatus – or rationality – of power named by Foucault is the pastorate. The pastor, he comments (1990) is not a magistrate, nor prophet, nor educationalist, nor sovereign, nor benefactor, even though the influence she/he holds over their followers contains elements of all of these leadership roles.[…] Clearly, the objectives of these secular ‘pastorships’ are no longer that of leading people to their salvation in the next world; their secularized goals of salvation are now to be found in ensuring the promises of better health, well-being, wealth, security and protection. So pervasive and extensive is this rationality that Foucault (1982) refers to it as the predominant form of the individualizing power of modernity. (238-239)

It is precisely this connection of individualizing and totalizing qualities of power that best evokes what Foucault (1979a) means by ‘governmentality’. It is again important to reiterate – especially given the argument I will go on to develop – that governmentality works on the basis of the adoption of multifarious techniques of government not necessarily immanent within the state itself. (241)

The state, simply put, is never reducible to structural mechanisms of control; it should not be viewed as antagonistic to the cultivated partic-ularity of distinctive subjects; it requires the free-play of their personal freedoms, the bottom-up support of their independent ‘self-makings’. The analytical challenge at hand is that of grasping this interface between individualization techniques and totalization procedures. (243)

There is in government an undeniable aspect of ‘self power’, as one might put it, an acting of self upon self. My intention here is to play up the intrinsically psycholo-gical nature of this dimension of government. We return thus to the distinction posed in Chapter 1 between psychology as a produced set of concepts and reality-effects, and the psychological activation of power.Asis no doubt apparent, I am of the opinion that both are crucial factors in the operation of power; we need ask not only what psychological contents are produced by self-government, but what are structures and processes of the psychology of self-government. (243)

Clearly then, despite a reticence to reduce the power of these relationships to a model of sovereignty, there is a variety of sovereignty – in the sense of the exercising of kinds of practical authority, in relations of relative dominance or control – at work at specific and/or points of the social body. These points are not merely projections of facets of a sovereign’s power. Rather they are distrib-uted ‘points of attachment’ that allow the power of government to take hold: ‘micro-sovereignties’ of localized and specific authority and dominance, whose continued presence, far from expendable, makes the broader architecture of state control possible. (245)

What accounts for the extraordinary cultural sway, the deep personal significance of such technologies is that they deal with the apparently essential qualities of an inner, defining psycho-logy of substance; anchored in the profundity of interiority, they bring with them the trump-card of inner truth, and hold out the promise not only of actualizing our selves, but of attaining the better selves we can be.

We may understand technologies of self as the subjectivization of tech-nologies of  ubjectivity, indeed, as the personal integration of such frames of knowledge and practice within the private ethical systems of singular subjects. (246)

Hence the (ideal) difference between moral and ethical systems: whereas the care of the self permits for variation across rigid moral parameters – an ethical care of the self is precisely creatively rather than formulaically exercised – modern normalizing society offers us more codified, formalized, categorically set templates for the practicing of self. The care of the self thus by no means represents an uncomplic-ated zone of liberation. At each point of its practice – assuming such a creative ethics of self is even thinkable within normalizing disciplin-arity – the care of the self runs the risk of being superseded, domesticated by more homogenous systems of disciplinary bio-power. (248)

The ‘sovereignty-discipline-government complex’ might be represented diagrammatically as a ‘triangulation’ of modalities of power. By ‘sovereignty’ I refer to prohibitory, law-based forms of power modelled on the relation between a sovereign – a figure of vested authority and practical power – and their subjects. Although such a notion of sovereignty could not be understood to fully encom-pass the working of apparatuses – which are too diverse in form and articulation to be reduced in this way – it is clear that this logic of power does inform the ‘micro-sovereignty’ discussed above, that is, the role of everyday ‘officers’/officials who exercise limited relations of control and authority over ordinary citizens in specific contexts. By ‘disciplinary bio-power’ I refer to the ‘micro-physics’ of an individualizing power rooted in the body and productive of psychologies, whose impetus is to care for, correct and better the life, health and humanity of problematic subjects. This is a crucial part of the ’instrumentality’ of govern-mental power; we are concerned here with the technical means which come to be implemented through the various moral orthopaedics of discrete human technologies. In speaking of ‘government’, following Dean (1999), I have in mind a range of calculated and rational activities that employ a variety of techniques so as to influence the conduct of individuals. These activities maintain definite but shifting ends and endeavour to shape conduct principally by working on the desires, aspirations, interests and, I would add, affects of subjects. This category of control is hence inclusive of the notions of technologies of subjectivity and of self. (249-250)

If it is to be possible to bring a Foucauldian analytics together with a type of critique which takes seriously the role of psychological functions in the conduction of power – something I treat as a critical imperative – then our aim is not to isolate a series of natural psychologies, but rather to identify a variety of instrumentalizable psychological technologies that play their part in the life of power. Psychological technologies – rather than natural psycholo-gies – should be our critical presumption and our analytical focus. (254)

So while, ideally, it is conceivable that one may set oneself to the task of listing the tacit, subliminal, performative rules in question, it remains nevertheless true that these orderings of conduct never need to be codified, recorded or even consciously learnt – certainly not at the level of explicit discursive formulation. It is at this level of bodily response and habituated action, in subliminal, apparently ‘pre-discursive’ demeanours and dispositions that I would suggest we need to locate the protocol factor, the rules of particular technologies of self. (257)

First, should such technologies only be oriented towards aimed-for ideals, toward objectives of truth and betterment; might they not equally be arranged around images of dread and aversion, around points of denigration and disgust? What is the negative end of the scale of such subliminal regimes of being; can we not – must we not – factor hate and fear into their schedules of motivation? This is a possibility I have discussed elsewhere (Hook, 2006), that racism, as affective technology, may be read, along the lines of Krisetva’s notion of abjection, as an ‘operation of repulsion’ (Butler’s (1997) phrase). Secondly, might the ideals of technologies of subjectivity and self be understood not merely at the level of basic life objectives, but also at the less rational, even sublime level of passionate attachments and investments that typically accompany notions of ideal-ization? (258)

My argument, as such, is that canny forms of governmentality are able to utilize particular kinds of affective capital – say for example sublim-inal forms of white identification and white racism, what I guardedly refer to as ‘whiteness’ – which can be played out, deployed for polit-ical gain despite remaining unowned by the parties (or the govern-ments) who would thus profit. (265)

One is tempted to adapt this formulation: above and beyond the possibility for feeling something in a purely idiosyncratic or individualized manner there is a regularizing collectivity, a motivated channelling of emotions – the interposition of an Other horizon of intelligibility and appeal. In the case of the calculated conduction of certain sentimentalities for polit-ical gain such an interposition can be understood within the terms of an affective technology, be it one of nationalism or of ‘Englishness’, or, as in our case, of an insidious mode of racism which is typically underpinned by both these concomitant forms of attachment. (268)

What, we should thus ask, is the constructive role of the deployment of certain ‘affect–positions’, what are the characteristic object-relations that they entail and that they generate (where to belong, what to love, who to hate, with whom to identify)? (271)

My suggestion would be that there are certain regularized ‘operating systems’ of affect, coherent processing forms, formations of affect that attain a level of durability. Such processing forms do not maintain a fixed or ahistorical set of contents, but are rather supplied by a variety of political and discursive systems. This is crucial because it is the differ-ence between assuming the inevitability of racism as a form of psychic defence common to all humans, and the injunction to examine the particular way that hate comes to be socially organized. (273)

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