Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze

Foucault and Deleuze were both French Philosopher. As per class discussion both of them were post structuralist.  In the conversation between this two philosopher they seem to be talking about how the world or the society works in the contemporary modern world. Foucault basically seem to be trying to understand how the power works in the contemporary world. On the other hand Deleuze is interested in theory and practice.

It has been easier for me to understand Foucault through his idea of Penopticon. He talks about the transformation of power in the contemporary world. he also talks about how the punishment and struggle in relation to power and the prison system . In post industrial era punishment wasn’t public it was rather private. Penopticon is a idea of being seen from a ideal place, where the prisoner couldn’t see the guard from the cell but they were ideally watched from one particular point ( center). Meaning we live in the ideological world were we are constantly being watched and judged, so we try to follow the ideological rules in life that the society as taught us (which is similar to Althessiers theory). This idea about the Penopticon is conceptualization of the prison system . He is using the idea of penopticon as the met society. Penepticon shows how the power works and how the society is marked my this. This whole idea of Penopticon is regulated in you mind and we abide by it. He is making a point on how certain peoplee are controlled in the world. His idea seems to be vastly related to the idea of the enlightenment.

We practice what has been theorized. theory and Practice is always together as whatever theory one has in life is brought into practice in the world. system of power is somehow a theory which is not obtained it flows when it is put into a system. once the system of power flows it is practiced by certain group of people.

This reading has been a struggle for me to a great extent. i dont know if the point i have made above is clear or if i am in a right track. Guys please give a feedback.



4 thoughts on “Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze

  1. Malika, I personally think this is great, It gives a great overview as to what the two philosophers believed and what they thought. This reading was also a struggle for me but with all of the noted and finding examples in the reading to back up certain points, I think I am finally getting a hang of it.

    The Panopticon is probably my ideal way of thinking about this whole concept as well. It ties the idea of power as well as the fact that Foucault was inspired by Althusser. The Panopticon is when you put prisoners in a circle, can look into rooms but can not look out, and there is a “guard” that is in the center. The reason why I put guard in quotes is because the guard does not necessarily have to be there at all times. He can come and go, not look your particular way at any time – but there is no indication to the prisoners whether or not the guard can see them or if he is even there. In this case, you always have to be doing what they are supposed to be doing, not sure if they are watching so you have to be on point at all times. Because of this, you literally always have to monitor your own behavior, the idea of controlling yourself. Foucault is inspired by Athusser, but in the panopticon, there isn’t anyone in the guard tower, but we do it to ourselves. This is where power comes in and how this power that we possess can affect us tremendously.

    For Deleuze, and his concept of theory and practice was difficult for me to understand but I think I got it now (maybe). He claims that we can’t have a theory that is just floating up into the air. We can’t take a theory from wherever and apply it to a particular context. Instead, the theory is a practice and emerges out of the conditions of real life. Theory and practice are not split, they are one.

    This part is super tricky for me, so someone please help me out!
    Also for Deleuze, I liked his concept of dividuals. Since a molecule is made up of a bunch of different things that make up one thing and that thing is matter, than in a dividuals, you are not an individuals but instead a part of a larger group and are just being. Dividuals is the idea that we are the same energy. We all breathe in the same air, and therefore we are all conjoined together, according to Deleuze.
    Am I explaining this correctly?! 😦

  2. I believe we are both in same page :)..I like the idea of dividuals.

  3. The panopticon is a great way to see power and how powerful the effect of power is on us. Even though there might not be a guard around, the fear of the “more powerful one” makes us behave and control our behaviors. Foucault is definitely inspired by Althusser in his view of power in a capitalistic society and their “invisible” power over us- the power that makes us produce and reproduce materials over and over again. This shows the nature of power. Power is not something we can dominate and does not belong to someone specific. Power affects all of society. It is not just possessed by ruling class. It flows through the system.

    As for theory, I understand that theory and practice is inseparable, as a matter of fact, I see that theory is practice. The analogy of theory as a box of tools is literally what he meant. A theory must function and be used or it becomes worthless. And that is where the intellectual comes in. The function of intellectual is to continuously theorize in order to resist against power. Intellectuals play an active role now in the struggle against power.

    As for the dividuals, Nicole explained pretty well. It is an interesting idea and the easier concept to grasp for me.

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