Michel Foucault asserts that the relationship between power and knowledge is mediated through information. He argues that those who have power create and maintain communication. In addition, the powerful define who other people are through the information they issue.
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For example in the media, the powerful dictates the kind of programs we should watch hence they have an influence over the knowledge we gain from the media. Foucault is of the opinion that knowledge is a form of power is gained from power. This is summed up in his theory which postulates that knowledge is power. When knowledge and power are linked, a discourse is created. In addition, the discursive elements set the stage for moralities (Foucault 85-92).
The dominant discourse can be changed when another group with more power and knowledge communicates widely their counter-discourse. Individuals are receptive to discourses they understand. In addition, these individuals are perceived to be a powerful and knowledgeable group.
This explains why individuals can either be proponents or antagonists of a certain theory or moral issues. In addition, this justifies the varied opinions of people regarding certain issues. Foucault notes that power has the ability to change behavior and the world. However, power itself cannot be affected (92- 101).
Governmentality is the study of autonomous in relation to political and economic exploitation. Foucault argues that governing people is not about coercion and domination by the authority but the versatile equilibrium where harmony and conflicts should be tolerated. In addition, he emphasized the differentiation of power and liberties by identifying three types of power relations which include liberties, government and dominion (94).
Liberties are strategic power gamers which involves human interaction in various forms such as ideological manipulation, moral advice, rational argumentation and economic exploitation. The liberty of individuals is maintained and enabling people to have freedom of choice since there is no coercion (Krieken para. 6).
On the other hand, government power regulates the freedom of others by using certain rules and rationality. This subjects all the parties involved to a predetermined set of conduct. This means that power has a complete dominion on all the subjects under it. Therefore, all the decisions they make override the power to freedom.
Domination power on the other hand is stable, fixed and hierarchical in if functioning. This type of power dominates its subjects thus giving them limited freedom. The states of dominion relate to the effects of technologies on government in terms of systematization, stabilization and regulation of power relationships which lead to domination (Wickham 248-255).
An example of social governance is evident in advanced liberal democracies where the government is devolved into a state, geographical territory and the population. Liberal government is aimed at increasing demographic and cultural diversity due to increased migration and globalization. Foucault advocates for liberty. This is evident in that he tirelessly fought for classical-liberal and neo-liberal freedom in his struggles to attain a free society.
Foreign control should be strong in order to provide concerted efforts of nation-building and help in addressing criminal issues, anti-social behavior and other behavioral characteristics (Wickham 248-255). In addition, important issues such as poor housing, unemployment, inequality and low pay are targeted to improve individual’s social status.
Stressing on the importance of sovereignty and legislation is mainly aimed at improving legal framework to ease implementation of policies. This is also aimed at shifting resources to the marginalized areas and to move away from universalistic and egalitarian policies.
Bo, Carlsson. Jurgen Habermas and the sociology of law. Cardozo Law Review 4.1 (1996): 765-771.
Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge: selected interviews and other writings (lecture two). Brighton: Harvester Publishers, 1980. Print.
Krieken, Robert. Legal informalism, power and liberal governance. Social and Legal Studies 10.1 (2010): 1-5. Print.
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Wickham, Gary. Foucault and law. Brighton: B&T Publishers, 1977. Print.