Are Foucault’s Intellectuals Power-Agents?

Michel Foucault in ‘Truth and Power’ (1980), develops intellectuals the ‘universal’ and ‘specific’ intellectual, in the context of the question about the political status of science and its potential ideological function, that he summed up in two words: power and knowledge.

The political significance of science must be viewed in the context of what it says about propositions, scientific or otherwise, that are ‘governed’ by a ‘discursive regime’. In fact, the implicit rules that certain expressions admits as legitimate and significant. For example, some expressions of patriarchal discourse, such as those based on women’s autonomy, are meaningless, that he calls for a seemingly unqualified rejection of intellectual prophecy. But such total rejection may decide whether or not to participate in the resistance and reduce the ‘call to prophecy’ for intellectuals. if Foucault refuses to answer this call, the public who published it can simply turn to other intellectuals to find solutions, paying attention to the words of those who do not. This is one of the reasons why Foucault does not limit himself to restricting his rejection of the prophecy, but asserts that it is not part of the role of every intellectual. An interpretation of Foucault that shows him attracting and relying universally on particular affirmations of truth and value instead of rejecting them all. But perhaps he invokes the accusation of nihilism for his own behavior as an intellectual.

Critics who impose this position resorts to Foucault as an intellectual who has something to say about solving the problems rose in their genealogies, and when Foucault is silent about it, it seems that it is because he believes there is a good solution. It is significant that we still need ‘intellectuals’, intellectuals who tell us what to do, despite Foucault’s claims that we do not. Considering Foucault as an intellectual in search of an answer, perhaps interpret the silence of the latter as an expression of nihilism. But we do not ‘follow’ Foucault as an intellectual in this perceived nihilism, but to criticism.

It is certainly possible those who take this perception of nihilism seriously and follow Foucault as an intellectual assuming it for themselves. Foucault’s rejection of prophecy can lead to a nihilistic conclusion if one considers a denial or opposition of the intellectual role of the prophet. In expressing a total rejection, saying ‘no’ to intellectual prophecy, Foucault takes a position on the ‘other side’ of the prophet, acting as the negative ‘outside’ necessary for the definition and consolidation of ‘the interior’. Such movements towards ‘the other side’ towards the negative hardly modify the general structure of as denied. One simply denies what resists, leaves it intact and simply adds a ‘no’. This phenomenon is manifested in the way in which Foucault’s rejection of prophecy takes into serious account as an example of prophecy: he appears to be seen as the prophet who simply says ‘no’, who believes that ‘the truth’ about what is good or bad and what must be done is that there is no way to judge between right and wrong, there is nothing we can hope for, and there is nothing to do. Instead of encouraging others to speak and act for themselves, in order to reduce their ‘call to prophecy’, such a strategy may continue to respond negatively. Impregnated with the authority of truth that refers to the distinctive intellectual corresponds to different ways of using language to promote specific interests, i.e., a specific power. The universal intellectual, under the guise of an individual ‘writer,’ corresponds to the collective level, according to Foucault, to the Marxist figure of the proletariat, or working class, as a collective historical subject or ‘bearer of the universal,’ the people who shape to the course of history, but it is the proletariat as an incipient and immediate incarnation of the individualized and conscious universal.

The universal intellectual such as Franz Fanon and Edward Said, among others, was, in principle, the spokesman of all humanity, whose interests were universally represented by such writers. As a result of this shift from attention to universal attention to specificity, that breaks between practice and theory where the intellectuals in a moment were the ones who wrote and they were contrasted. A simple technician who simply realized the will of the capitalist, but now, ‘writing’ is the sanctifying mark of the intellectual. No one is above politicization. So there is this kind of rupture of the division of labour between those who ‘write’ and those who ‘do’. Instead, says Foucault, we are now witnessing a global process of politicization ‘that includes psychiatrists, magistrates, doctors, social workers, sociologists and others. Foucault’s classic commentary on ‘Oppenheimer’ identifies the atomic scientist as an important transition point between the old ‘universal’ intellectual type and the more ‘specific’ intellectual, however, he is able to produce what is called ‘global effects’. It does not exist absolutely, universally, it is the same with the declarations of correspondence with the names of people according to the principles that govern the decisions made in the management companies, as well as in the training institutes, institutions, institutions, public institutions. Authorities, public authorities, institutions, public authorities and companies are a textbook where we produce solitary principles of music restoration’. To see information about behavior, intellectual resources, information about behavior, objectives, reservation criteria, selection criteria, the choice of living conditions and living conditions. Foucault, by praising his absolutes, turns out to be his affirmation of his universal world, his contingents and his historical histories. If we want to access universal vegetation, contribute intellectually and intellectually to a unique system for conditional marriage and human rights. There are only objects and objects.

If we prefer, we will find universal and contemporary examples, an intellectual and continuous analysis of the process of treatment and continuous means and a definition of ‘an idea of ​​the arbitration of the constitution’. Foucault suggests it may not be Oppenheimer, but rather Darwin may be considered as the creator of the ‘specific’ intellect, Darwin, and especially its popularizers, a ‘local’ scientific truth have been put into play in contemporary political struggles. It can no longer be believed taken the place of the writer as ‘his universal counterpart’. The ‘universal intellectual’ is appropriate for a given historical situation, characterized by a broad and specific distinction between different kinds of people, scientific, technological and cultural principles and practices that constituted a different system of coherent systems and corroborates  concepts and proposals. But this historical context, in which the universal intellectual was working, no longer exists, according to Foucault, with the consequence that today we are witnessing the functioning of ‘specific intellectuals’ who can no longer pretend to write to speak or act on their behalf. Of all, it says to be human, but in the best of cases, to be the spokes person of specific and clearly delimited areas of social activity. The intellectual who distinguishes corresponds to different ways of using language in the promotion of specific interests or powers. The universal intellectual, in the form of an individual ‘writer’, corresponds to the collective level, according to Foucault, to the Marxist figure of the proletariat, or working class, as collective historical subject or ‘bearer of the universal’, the people who shape to the course of history. It is through the moral, political and theoretical choices made by the writer in his writings that the proletariat constitutes the immediate incarnation and embodiment of the universal, or has been individualized.

The universal intellectuals, i.e., Franz Fanon and Edward Said, among others, were, in principle, the spokesman for all humanity, whose interests were universally represented. It is not necessary to look for specific intellectuals in the field of car authenticity, which allows us to understand the role of these intellectuals, which has dealt with Foucault. In South Africa, it is common for the ‘truth’ of the specific intellectual work in our field to exceed its disciplinary limits and affirm its greater political importance. When, near the coastal city of South Africa, zoologists are instructed, for example, to study the impact of port construction on deep waters in the marine ecology of their immediate neighborhood and report the negative consequences or even devastating in daily life. Migratory treaties of medical acts, whose diet is near the proposed port in several islands, a zoological report that illustrates the work of specific intellectuals with power or that means the sociopolitical nature of the ecological nature. The elaboration of the truth within the limits of each domain, even in an interdisciplinary way, the political effects of this specific truth can go beyond the scope of its own origin and feel at a level of general importance, for example, we imagine a pharmacologist and a political geographer working on a study on how to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in densely populated areas, for example, at once philosophical, historical, theoretical, discursive and political, illustrates how the work of a specific intellectual can have an impact on a vast intellectual, scientific, social and political domain. This is evident, among other things, where the questions of the interviewers elicit Foucault’s answers that cover precisely this varied terrain. It is likely that intellectuals who seek to capture and transmit universal notions of truth and justice play the role of prophet, since the universality of their knowledge seems to justify efforts to lead others to the truth, for their own sake, to say what is good and it is not and what we should do that the decline of the universal intellectual.

If the intellectuals no longer work so much ‘in the form of ‘universal’, as exemplary, the ‘right and true for all’, that does not mean that there was an end to the call to play a universal and prophetic role’. After insisting that ‘he does not behave like a prophet,’ Foucault laments: ‘and I often complain, do not do it while they reproach me for behaving like a prophet.’ Foucault explains that he has been accused of acting as a prophet, for example, for those who consider that madness and civilization present an ‘anti-psychiatry position.’ Those who misinterpret Foucault as an ‘anti-psychiatrist’ can do so because they are looking for, in their genealogical study of madness, the universal truth of whether psychiatry is good or bad and what should I do next? Foucault uses this point to illustrate that there is still a ‘call to prophecy’, waiting for the role of the intellectual to tell him those of more to do. His own reference to the role played by the American physicist Robert Oppenheimer in the development of the first nuclear bomb can also serve as a clear example of what it means to be a ‘specific intellectual’. It is not difficult to understand why this should be the case. The specific and specialized investigation of Oppenheimer, who played a decisive role in the construction of the atomic bomb, gave him immediate political and military importance. The development of the nuclear bomb is a paradigmatic example of Foucault’s claim that politics (i.e., the cold war) is the war between two wars and other media. In Discipline and Punishment, Foucault examines discourse and institutions and proves that the technique of formulating statements certainly works for the benefit of the power or knowledge network.

Foucault shows that power is not simply ‘a set of physical-political techniques’; there is a cyclical relationship with the production of knowledge, calling the discursive field of knowledge ‘an epistemological fusion for a refinement of power relations’. Knowledge and power go hand in hand, because we know the world thanks to our knowledge that it is classified in a certain way Knowledge still belongs to groups with the power to authenticate their versions of the information contained in the archives, what the archives become weapons under the yoke of knowledge or circulatory power. The discipline of intellectuals specific to what calls ‘universal’ political relations (i.e., of power) what Foucault means when he says that such intellectuals have approached the proletariat and the ‘masses’, even if the specific, ‘no the universal problems they face are often far removed from those of the masses, for two reasons: the struggles in which specific intellectuals participate are so ‘real, material, every day’, and these intellectuals often confront each other as the proletariat, i.e., the multinationals, the judicial team and the speculators of the police property. The past example of zoologists that present a report contrary to the dominant discourse of’ regional economic development as an example of the long-term interest of the working classes, even if that undermines a short-term employment. Therefore, Foucault has made a significant contribution to the understanding of what intellectuals of the ‘specific’ variety do in and through their intellectual work, something that is in accordance with the complexity of contemporary society, are still struggling to get out of the ‘ivory tower’ in this way. It is necessary to define the strategies of autonomy and control of individual rights, whose main objective is to promote Foucault’s ideas and take stock of human and political truth, as well as history and traditions.

In a modern way, the reader can read in the intellectual document of Foucault. If we are a universal actor, it is a universal universe that has been created and that has been the subject of a complete search of videos, which is a portable player, and who has experience. The best ideas about what is an old book, which are greenhouses provided by Foucault that they brought undermine. If Foucault was an agent of the verdure and crime regime, we are here to obtain information about the behavior, the state of the resources, the rights of the person and the living conditions, as well as the conditions of work in the country, different regions of the world. The work of an intellectual is not to shape the political of others. It is, through the analyzes carried out in their own fields, to question the assumptions and the things that are not said, to stir up the habits, the ways of acting and thinking, to dispel the familiarity of the accepted institutions, by taking the measures and norms and , from this re-problematization. Foucault’s use of intellectual prophecy as a rhetorical strategy may contribute to the ultimate goal of undermining ‘the call to prophecy,’ especially if the intellectual role is assumed more broadly. If the reader is questioned with the usual ideals, such as ‘autonomy’ and individual ‘rights’, then he may suspect Foucault’s calls to such notions in the normative force that links his genealogical histories. This strategy does not seem to be effective in undermining the ‘call to prophecy’ or in encouraging others to develop creative solutions to social and political problems. Paradoxical as it may seem, perhaps by remaining in the current regime of truth, by accepting its role as agent and by using its framework of truth and norms, and does the Foucaultian intellectual have the best opportunity to encourage others to undermine this. In other words, by playing the prophet, one can avoid being a prophet, reshaping the images of agents who passively are in power.

*Hamid Rayhan, Poet & Fiction Writer

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