Essay: Theories of Power

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Essay: Theories of Power

Sample Essay

Foucault embraces four theories of power to further explain his notion of bio-power. These theories of power are opposed with classical approaches based on juridico political conception of power or on class opposition and domination held by Marxists. He explores the shifting patterns of power within the society and the ways in which power relates to the self. His concern throughout is the relationship between knowledge and power and the articulation of each on the others.

Nietzsche, a German philosopher says, “A will to power motivate human behavior and traditional values had lost their power over the society” (Nietzsche 169). To Foucault, knowledge ceases to be a rebellion and become a mode of surveillance, regulation and discipline. He was opposed to the humanized that once we gain power we cease to know and that only those who are in no way implicated in tyranny can attain the truth. To him such forms of knowledge are psychiatry and criminology; it is directly related to the exercise of power. Nietzsche noted as well “exercise of power generates objects of knowledge” (Nietzsche 31).

Foucault argues that Marxism’s was an inappropriate form of government because it saw everything in economic terms projecting it as the dominating factor in political, social and even religious aspects of human interaction. He further asserts that Marxism leads to a stilted view and a tendency to ignore other motivations such as the human need for recognition of one’s achievement.

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