o Lecture Overview
1. Brief recap
2. Foucault and critical theory
3. Foucault vs. the Marxists: Power
1. Brief Recap
o Mode of production in society: the ways in which develop and produce material goods
and services in society. (3 modes, capitalist, socialist and communistic)
o Capitalist mode of production: bourgeoisie(own means, materials and resources) vs.
proletariat (all they have is their own labour power to sell) -> class struggle due to different goals
Maximize wages through unionizing for proletariat
Under communist mode of production there will be only one class and class
struggle would be eliminated.
o How can law be legitimate if it isn't proportionate among classes
o Instrumental Marxism:
State= tool for capitalist class and state functions to control, preserve and
maintain power of capitalist class by controlling lower classes.
Laws tended to oppress working classes; capitalists wanted the working class to
remain in subordinate position
o Structural Marxism
More sophisticated than instrumental
They deny that law is exclusive domain for the rich
Instead of arguing that law maintains long-term interests of the capitalist class it
maintains the capital system and when law punishes any member who opposes this long-
term existence of the system ….
Administrative criminology was interested in policy oriented research. The
policies were used to legitimize the system; pathology of lower classes so theories support
the ruling classes oppression of working class.
o Reflexive about what it means to do criminology
Marxist criminology forces us to think about the work that we do; theory is no
longer innocent and we need to be careful in how we construct theories to protect people's
2. Foucault o French philosopher
Apolitical definition of ideology
o Interested in studying origin of ideas
o Taught history..
o Interested in historically contingent ways that we as a society think and the effect of our
ideaas and why some ideas get elevated to status of truth
o Critical theory: the conditions that make something possible
What are the economic conditions that made society possible ?
Historical conditions that make our knowledge possible and that make human
o Historical conditions that make the human subject possible
Humans as political subjects: subjected to state power and expected to do civic
duties (ex vote)
Humans have a sense of themselves: we have identity and self-knowledge; we
are s subject because we have subjectivity.
There is therefore no deep human nature for is to discover; human nature isn't a
There is no human nature to discover and we have no free will.
Free will is seen in rational choice and Beccaria
Focault says there is no way we can think of individual as existing apart from
broader social forces because they make us possible as human subject and these social
forces get inside of us as well through the process of internalization. We therefore cannot
be seen to make choices that are purely our own. Society snd culture are not independent
of us because they make us and live inside us.
o Power and knowledge ranges among social institutions
No deep truth about human nature
o Problematizes concept of free will (vs. social contract theorists)
Foucault on Criminology
‘Have you ever read any criminological texts? They are staggering. And I say this out of
astonishment, not aggressiveness, because I fail to comprehend how the discourse of
criminology has been able to go on at this level. One has the impression that is of such utility, is
needed so urgently and rendered so vital for the working of the system, that it does not even
need to seek a theoretical justification for itself, or even simply a coherent framework. [...] I think
one needs to investigate why such a ‘learned’ discourse became so indispensable to the
functioning of the nineteenth-century penal system.’
oFocault does t like criminology.
o….as a kind of discourse to legitimate it oWe need to understand how to theorize power
3. Three Main Approaches to Power
1. Power over
o Effects of power are unpredictable
Power over a person or group of people
o Quantity: how much power do you have over this person?
o Quality: different forms of power have different effects
o Sexual power doesn’t look like economic power but it is a power
Attractiveness, sexual expertise, charm.
Can be born into wealthy family
Get good education
For sexual power the above route is different: for sexual power you can work on
your attractiveness (plastic surgery)
The form of power will tell us how it exerts itself on other people
For foucault the effects of power are always unpredictable.
For marxists the power is predictable in its effects
1. Power Storage
o Power as quantity to be accumulated
o Since it is accumulated you start considering distributions of power in society
Marxist conception of power: power storage when wealth is used as proxy for
power; wealth is therefore s quantity that can be accumulated and stored.
• Power is localized (e.g. State power): we think that we can find power in a
particular source or location
o Vs. Foucault
Power is everywhere: power isn't exclusively localized and power is not the sole
domain of state. Power is everywhere because it comes from everywhere and every group
in society will exercise and be subjected to power. Therefore if everyone can exercise
power it is not exclusive to authorities and power is about the overall effect of its strategic
Power is a strategic relation: not a structure and not something that is localized to
o Marx: Base-Superstructure Model
Focault puts a big X on the 'base structure of society'
Foucault on Power o
Power is not a structure: it is relation between people and institutions; power is local and
unstable; it is found in everyday places and interactions
Power is not a zero-sum game: there are clear winners and losers and there Is only one
outcome where one team wins and the other loses.
In capitalist society there is one winner: capitalists
Foucault disagreed with the above because it is unclear who is winning or losing
since power is not an internally fixed substance that only one group possesses and the
Power is fluid and dynamic
o E.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NvJs3KNdkw&feature=related
Video on how the kid cries because dad isnt buying what he wants
Conventionally the parent has the power , but if we see this as a zero-sum game
Father wins, kid loses : parent might follow up with punishment of the kid ; father
is like the state which has a list of prohibitions and if laws are violated, the offender is
Parentgives in and child wins: child exercises power sgains parent; it is a forced
relation because the power is strategically exercised; force is exerted on another person to
do something. There is a purposeful strategy to create particular outcome. You cannot
pitch and fit on s stranger, this power only works between parent and child. Parent here
Power is not a zero- sum game: you can compromise by proposing to buy a
Not a zero sum: both refuse (lose-lose): parent does nothing snd kid considers
screaming (this is called an act of resistance*)
a. For Marxists resistance is rebellion for Foucault it is small acts of
resistance that occur on local everyday basis, we start seeing how power has
unpredictable effects. Ex: kid might comply or resist in compromise.
b. Powers overtime will shift and the power relationship will shift (ex:
children will eventually gain more power over their aging parent)
c. Power is more than just possession : because power is s force relation
snd it is something you exercise. Power is an achievement and an end product.
d. Who benefits if law os structured this way? (marxists) for fau it a how
question (how does power work how is it exercised and what are its effects)
o Who How
3. Power to do something that might otherwise not be possible
o Repressive power
For Marxists the capitalist power is repressive and it is a force that constantly
o Repressive hypothesis (Foucault’s History of Sexuality): sex was freer before the
Victorian Age In 19th century, he says we as western society begin to believe the repressive
hypothesis. We though tthat ses was freer before bictorian sge snd during victorian age
we became sexually repressed and today we are the other Victorians because we still
sexually repressed. He says we don’t talk about sex and we chose to not talk about it
because it is an intimidating subject ex: some states in US they only teach abstinence not
…says this is not true because victorians talked a