Foucault’s Trajectory from Existential Psychiatry to Historical Epistemology
Introduction: For my thesis of critical examination I chose from the journal of Foucault Studies, The Emotional Life of Governmental Power by Elaine Campbell, Newcastle University. In this thesis I will be discussing as well as criticizing this work by also identifying key concepts of Sociology while summarizing this article as well as my knowledge of Michel Foucault. As an outspoken conflict theorist, myself, I have chosen to be amicable yet also disparage the Foucaultian School for its ideals as well as those who adhere to them from the Sociological Imagination to see if they are truly functionalist in form and perspective from my own empirical evidence that is the social-conditioning of the United States in appliance to the Global Order of Critical Theory. This Critical Dialectic is for the grandest analysis and application of social sciences from a Critical Theorist.
Critical Theory Thesis: The article begins with a statement of neo-liberalism and how we as individuals are autonomous who are rational enough to make our own decisions with our lives as if we are some helmsman of our own destiny or forger of our own fate when our social conditioning, statistically speaking states otherwise. Foucault’s views are Marxist, Anarchistic, Idealistic. In other-words, completely unpractical no matter how hard an individual may pine for his social views to become social norms. It is laughable to think that the gross surplus population could ever achieve any kind of self-responsibility or enlightenment to their own sentience through Foucauldian studies in achieving such a social order. The general Self of a person from the United States differs from the Western World. The United States Citizens sense of Self differs greatly from the rest of the Western and European world. A cultured, well-behaved, educated or intelligent American is a deviant from the social-norm. The life course approach in handling such people is a myriad of ignorance, bliss, and breaking of the law or social control. Not among my milieu but among many stands at its apex alpha individual: a Authoritative Machiavellian with their milieu bordering on being considered an organized criminal enterprise acting as the chiefs of societal institutions. This truth is self-evident in my empirical observations and reflections.
The author of the article uses the terms such as “risk-management” and “utilitarianism” — It is not best to utilize risks that could end in dying horribly. To maximize on one’s lifestyle of self-destruction and self-damaging behavior that could resolve in the loss of life is no way to live for surely one will not be living at any rate if such risks are maximized for lifestyle choices. The government tools and technology are maximized thoroughly with everyone on the LINK program, Fafsa being abused for personal gain, with 70% of people from my own empirical studies, lacking common sense. Common sense is not so common with ignorance being celebrated and history being repeated, first as tragedy, second as farce. The United States is a prime example for survey and analytical review for an aspiring sociologist and science fiction writer whose strong suit is the social sciences displayed in his novels with the example of speculative technology and extraplanetary physical sciences.
Foucault was influenced by an idea known as the “genealogy of the self,” how a person obtains identity, selfhood, autonomy, and individuality although being influential to the enlightened being, the common man views it as a subject of lesser importance in today’s society with the following in its stead of: “facade of a persona, selfies, total conformity, and idiocy.” I agree with Foucault’s ideals and love his works yet I find them unpractical in the social-order around me for they are riddled with controversy. I, myself in the United States, find myself to be in complete anomie with the social-order which I view as near barbarism and anarchy. I am an anomaly in a anomaly creating difficulties to find a place or care about improving the social order. I agree with this article on how desire, passions, sentiments and emotions play a significant and benevolent role in a government’s power or a society of individuals autonomy over their self. I agree moreso with John Ruskin’s idea of it is not the problem of power, it is the problem of what people do with it. That Capitalism is just as flawed as Marxism, it is not the system that is flawed, it is us as people. It is all relayed back to social-conditioning, if people are socially-conditioned to have better and more refined taste that we possibly wouldn’t have technologies of fads made of petroleum-based plastics buried forever in the ground in the mountains of garbage that cannot be disposed of unless burned thus harming our environment and by harming our environment, we harm ourselves.
Foucault’s ideals will be like the individual who wrote this article. Completely unpractical unless the root of social-conditioning is changed. Although, I identify as a liberal libertarian, we need a more liberal authoritarian government for this social order to change by a complete seizure of media by the State in order to tame the cowboy with inside all of us as Americans and finally be free of the wild west of a society we live in. Once this Liberal Authoritarian government comes to power then the Wild West that comprises our society will change to a more civilized western world. I come to these conclusions from my own empirical evidence of a vast network of research in order to Verstehen or understand the world around me in order to see how I, myself as an individual fit into what social-class. I imagine that their is no Bourgeoisie or Proletariat, I imagine myself to be equal to all men and women, I imagine myself happy and free. Most Western and European governments are Bureaucratic by nature, Bureaucracies are noted for being emotionless, impersonal, machine like structures comprised of individuals who strip any who enter its social-order of any sense of self while apart of it as a social-ecosystem. If Bureaucracies felt more for their fellow Bureaucrats, maybe the Bureaucratic system would work for understanding can be ascertained from an individual’s emotions but nothing of knowledge can be known from emotional intelligence except from the emotional expression of passion which shapes history. If employees ascertained more positive emotions from the stratification that is Bureaucracy whether it be a political, economic, or social order. This possibility would bring change and the social barbarism of darkness that is social justice which blinds us would finally settle out and we as a society could finally understand our own abilities as autonomous individuals who can think in shades of grey. A true sign of a functioning society isn’t the similarities the individuals have with one another within it but it is the ability and technology of the individuals of this society to still function with one another and negotiate their differences despite conflict.
- The Emotional Life of Governmental Power, by Elaine Campbell, Newcastle University.
- Forbes Magazine.