The Ethics of Power: Transmutations of Foucault's Subject

By:
Dr. Marta Nunes da Costa
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Having Foucault's triptical project of defining technologies of knowledge, power and of the self as framework, I will provide an articulation of the modes of existence of the (transmuted) modern subject and I will argue why is it relevant to redefine individuality today. In a society where power is indissociable of knowledge and where ideals are easily converted into ideologies (of consumerism in its link with liberty and democracy) one must inquiry into the actual and possible space for an ethical and political life. The first step consists in establishing the analytical distinction between subjectivity, individualism and individuality. For this I will articulate Foucault's conception of authorship (as transmutation of the subject in discursive practices), subject (as locus of power within the institutional context) and self (as promise of freedom within the personal ethical sphere). Confronted with the limitations of the Foucauldian project (specially the strict, personal and local effects of his ethics), I will re-take Kantian heritage in its concern with freedom and human emancipation, as well as Adorno's model of 'culture industry'. Based on the articulation of the three authors, I will accomplish the second goal of my paper, namely, of providing an alternative a positive model of individual autonomy today.


Keywords: Individuality, Individualism, Subjectivity, Power, Knowledge, Ethics, Discourse
Stream: Political Science, Politics
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Ethics of Power, The


Dr. Marta Nunes da Costa

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, Graduate Faculty, New School University
USA

Writing Ph.D. Dissertation in the Department of Political Science, Graduate Faculty, New School University, entitled 'Redefining Individuality - reflections on Kant, Adorno and Foucault'. Professional Experience: 2002 - Researcher Assistant of Professor Aristide Zolberg, focusing on questions on immigration, refugees and transnationalism. 2000 - Internship at the Mission of Portugal, United Nations, on the third Committee - Human Rights 2000 - Volunteer work at the Associacao Portuguesa de Apoio à Vitima (APAV - Portuguese Association to help victims), giving psychological support to victims, specially women, of domestic violence and violation of the basic human rights. 1999- 2000 - Responsible for an art Gallery at the Musée du Louvre, Paris 1996-2004 - experience in technical translations, namely in Philosophical and political texts. Conferences: April 2004 - presentation of a paper entitled 'Rethinking Foucault's Individual' at the New School University, NY June 2003 - presentation of a paper entitled 'Redefining Individuality' in Brave New World Conference at the University of Manchester, England May 2003 - presentation of a paper entitled 'The paradox of identity and culture' in 'What is the culture in multiculturalism ?' Conference at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. April 2003 – presentation of a paper entitled 'The Dialectics of Culture Industry' in 'Politics and Rhetoric' Conference at the University of Essex, England November 2002 - presentation of a paper entitled 'Democracy and the media - mechanisms of social control" in the Post/Modern Conference of the Erlangen University, Germany Articles on "human rights" and "self-interest" that will be published during 2004 by the Social Policy Encyclopaedia, England. Languages: Portuguese, French, English, Spanish spoken, reading and written. Italian reading. Basic knowledge of German.

Ref: H05P0133