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March 24, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

A simple explanation of Foucault for the space topic

1) A critique of norms (ie default values, cultural values, or group values)

2) A critique of national security appeals or what he calls bio-power, which allows violations of all other values in the name of the body politic and/or national security.

3) He also critiques sovereign power (aka government power) and disciplinary power.

4) A critique of sexuality (this is really about the critique of norms)

5) He critiques rationality & madness. He also critiques how we use irrationality to control others.

6) He also critiques our notions of power–saying that power isn’t just top-down….its everywhere.

7) Foucault also critiques surveillance (by governments and corporations)–or what he would call the Panopticon or panoptic power.

8) One of his alternatives is geneaology….which rather than hyper-generic assertions about a particular institution involved using historical uses of a term as a basis for discovering more about it.

***** Foucault is basically–a critique of values (norms, ethics, morality) and institutions (social groupings)–or at least the language and values underlying those institutions.

How to learn more about Foucault?

I say read the files you have about foucault….and chase down the specific references to his books…..especially for cards you plan on running.

#1, #2, & #7 probably have the most application to the space exploration topic. Note that 7 is how satellites work–at least those which are directed back at earth for observation.


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  1. Compassioninpolitics / Mar 25 2012 4:01 am

    My guess is that much of the debate next year will be based on:
    1) Biopower. Your impact cards are fear mongering to save our elusive national security interests. This is similar to the security critique, threat construction, and realism K, which are all drawn from the same literature

    2) Roads and highways represent an extension of the American Dream (your economy impact cards in particular). The American Dream/Manifest Destiny/Capitalism is flawed. Moreover, Roads and highways are the liveblood of capitalism/neoliberalism/globalization.

    3) Suburban life bad for class-based reasons & well as creating a negative “way of living”

    4) Highways create borders which negatively effect communities (also they are dehumanizing and perpetuate racism). I think this will be combined with #3.

    5) For cases that build new roads links to the takings clause (ie how government typically buys private lands to create highways). It could also be for highspeed rail affs.

    I dont see as much coming from Foucault books as coming from secondary authors, given that to my knowledge he didn’t write on this topic. However, if you can link the arguments to the arguments I outlined above in my earlier post, you should be able to put something together.

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