“Power” against Ideology: A Critique of Foucaultian Usage

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Essay Excerpt

This article is mainly a critique of the notion of power epitomized by the extremely influential writings of Michel Foucault. Foucault's use of power and cognate categories such as power/knowledge and bio-power even informs, however indirectly, the productions of many scholars who do not invoke his work explicitly. Enthusiasts see Foucault's elaborations upon power as a shift of paradigmatic or "epistemic" proportions in the ways we do social and historical analysis.[2] Obviously, such enthusiasm is far from unanimous. Yet the formidable arguments raised against Foucault's work have not prevented its widespread influence and emulation. Even in my own area of specialization, Chinese society, recent studies have participated in this shift with a timeliness uncharacteristic of the field[3] (3).

Sangren, P. S. "'Power' against Ideology: A Critique of Foucaultian Usage." Cultural Anthropology 10.1(1995): 3–40.

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