Duality of Power

A recent article in ISN neatly summarizes Michel Foucault’s idea of power and maps it to the current political milieus. Foucault’s ideas focus on the silent running of power we do not question this power as it is in the background all of the time, running under the surface. We perceive the pervasive effects of power as natural and do not realize that we are subject to it.

“[…] power is everywhere; it operates at the level of the individual, through language and through ‘truth’ itself. […] but … only as a result of our interaction with them.”

We, via our interaction, derive power through language and from the social meaning of basic categories such as what is normal. Thus, this duality of power is controlled by self-regulation, which, for Foucault is the most insidious form of power that comes from having internalized standards of normalcy from social institutions.

“Because power operates through language, …, it operates at the level of the individual. This means that power is everywhere and that everyone is constantly exercising it all the time, whether they realize it or not.”

But, the effects of such ubiquity of power are external and beyond self-discipline.

“the ideas we express and the language we use are exercises in power. We express ourselves not necessarily to communicate, but actually to dominate.”

Read the full ISN article Power as Truth – Unmasking the Relationship here.


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