CAS350H1 Lecture 3: CAS350 Lecture 3 Discourses

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University of Toronto St. George
Contemporary Asian Studies
Dylan Clark

CAS350 Lecture 3 Policing and modern governance in society (Althusser and Foucault’s books) Discourses • In any society, a subject is encoded into fields of subjectivity • Rather than seeing as an individual that exists, we replace it with a “subject” • Society exists through discourses • Society doesn’t simply exist until we talk about society • You’re understanding all things, attaining their meaning in discourses/ideologies o body, gender, racial, and national identity Althusser • Teacher of Foucault • became a communist after WWII • the economic base of society whether its feudal or modern Japan, gives rise to all of its super structures • Marxism is a deterministic model • the economic determines culture, ideology, religion • justify how society works are determined by the economy (who owns the capital, land, investments) • the culture itself is crucial to ways of understanding society and justifying society • a newer Marxism, culture is crucial instrument in through which governance happens and society is managed • he is re-reading Marx, as something that doesn’t have a perfect centre • Marx would say the economy is all mechanical • Althusser gives us there is a more disperse sense of how culture works o culture has an idea of their own o the ruling class itself aren’t united, they have different ideas o more flexible model of society • The economy does not simply create everything else • Society • exists in their discourses • both society and individual is a priori • we imagine that the individual and society both have a priori o both exist before we talk about them • society exists because it locates them in a constantly moving field, without objective neutrality • individual is placed into the categories, they are not born with it o e.g., learn what it means to have a national identity • rather than having an a priori, we locate both society and subjects in a constantly moving, changing slippery condition of subjectivity o they are inseparable from ideology and discourses • He talks about the reproduction of society through ISA and RSA o reproduce labour o in the feudal era, the church would play a crucial role o today in a modern society, it’s the school because the economy of society doesn’t produce itself, but people must learn their “correct” place in society and thus will society reproduce itself • ISAs (ideological state apparatuses) –pg. 143-148 o church, school, family, communications, legal apparatuses • RSAs (repressive state apparatuses) o police, military, armies, prisons, courts) o a bad subject could encounter the RSA • ideology helps to reproduce class relations • ideology explains the naturalness of class relations, explains power • it is the imaginary relation of individuals to the relations of production • it is your relationship to how things get owned and reproduce in society • we are formed as subjects in society o as good subjects or bad subjects ▪ The good subject agrees the basic, true way to see society (don’t commit crimes, loyal etc.) ▪ the bad subject would disagree or protest against the dominant ideology of society (may even require interventions of the RSAs) • There are institutions that instructs you ideologically (ISA) o ideological training in the family to know your place in society ▪ e.g., girls and boys o learning to see it as a true and natural way to behave • He is against the idea that society is clear/obvious (totality) • As if elements of society merely express what it is (against clear cut society) o that it exists as a unified thing • instead of saying that the church reflects society, they are society, they are not automatic reflections • there are no perfect reflections of a society or individual • he is giving us subjects who are produced, and a society contentiously produce ideology • society exists in ideology, does not reflect o it’s not a fact, it’s a constant state of dispute –because we talk about it • society is not just reflected in institutions but rather produce in these institutions continuously • patriarchy, racism, etc., are not fixed truths o e.g., Christianity is constantly changing o changes in different places and different times o e.g., sexism is not a reflection of patriarchy o instead: sexist practices are patriarchy/gives rise to patriarchy o patriarchy exists in its practices o e.g., racism is the practice of doing racist things. It doesn’t exist because it exists • you can experience/imagine yourself in these categories but they are not eternal, objective essence • We want to have subjects who “recognize” themselves as…femal
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