Essay Title: Why does Foucault use “power/knowledge”? And how is this significant for law?
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Why does Foucault use “power/knowledge”? And how is this significant for law?
In this essay, I would like to assess the contribution of Foucault on power and knowledge and its significance on law. This is an area that he personally addresses in power/knowledge. Firstly I will discuss how he links power with knowledge, looking at his theories of the production of knowledge through power with a verified example. Secondly, its impact on law and the emergence of the truth, power, right triangle. In the end, I would like to conclude by the influence of this text on me that helped me to understand the wide information that law holds.
In the opinion of Foucault, power is something that produces knowledge. By this he meant that an assert of knowledge arises whenever there are any imbalances of power. Disparity in power leads to the creation of knowledge. An example of this can be misproportion of power between white skinned and dark skinned in the western countries leads to more information on dark skinned , thus we find more books on them. The articulation of power leads to the dispersion of knowledge.
Foucault has been concerned with the HOW of power. To relate the apparatus of it with two points of reference one being with the proclamation of right that officially demarcate power and other associates to the result of truth or knowledge aroused and disseminated by power. Accordingly,there is a right, power, truth triangle where power and knowledge are closely related to each other which contrive and prolong themselves with discourses.
Law according to me, is something that is exercised by the state and those who impact the lawmaking processes to influence the wellbeing and security of a person by affirming certain behaviours are acceptable and the other behaviours will be punished which will in turn lead to undesirable results. Law is something that is dependent on power, the wrong influence of power would adversely affect law. Law is both the upshot of dissension of power as well as the element to exercise power over others. Hence, law can also be stated as a strategy of power in terms of Foucault.
The concepts of Foucault have enlarged my thinking of law and how it connects to power. I have come to know the various insights of power. My ideology of power was always in a negative aspect but after Foucault’s readings I have come to know that power is an element that is exercised by everyone rich or poor, everyone has some amount of power in contrast to each other, there is not a thing as ‘zero power’. I have also imbibed how power links with knowledge, in a way that it produces it. Basically for me, law was just a mere body to set up rules and regulations for the smooth functioning of the nation without involving the concept of power and now this has made me capable to think how well law and power fit with each other, so that law can exercised with the friction of power also with power to control others.
1) Foucault, M. 1980, ‘Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977‘, Pantheon Books, New York.
2) Nickolas,J. ‘Law and Power : Research Repository’, Bond University.
3) Mills,S. ‘Michel Foucault : Routledge Critical Thinkers’, London.