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What did Marxists believe that structures of power were in favour of?

In favour of bourgeois and that the state was the enemy
(structural forms of power are bound up in institutions)


Who was Antonio Gramsci and what was he known for?

An Italian political thinker and socialist, he was an influential thinker on power.


What were the main ideas that Gramsci is known for?

Subaltern: used it to refer to any group in society that is of a lower status and not active in dominant institution
Civil Society: the societal structures beyond those imposed by the government; organisations not part of government that play an active role in society and represent the interests of individuals/groups


What is the idea of cultural hegemony?

The success of the ruling classes in presenting their own version of reality and world view in such a way that it is accepted by members of other classes as merely 'common sense'. it is influential because it suggest that power not be merely state-dominated- it percolates through culture and civil society


How does Stuart Hall oppose this idea of cultural hegemony?

Less a matter of the dominance of a single class than of a historic bloc of diverse classes and interests. They maintain power by consent, taking into account 'subordinate interests'- giving a little


What is interpellation?

Louis Althusser- made to feel like we have a choice when we do not have a choice at all; to feel free when we are not


Who was Michael Foucault and what was he famous for?

French philosopher, social and cultural critic. His sympathies are with those subaltern groups marginalised by bourgeois society. Provided an influential post-structural account of power as diffused throughout society in discourses and practices


One of Foucault's key concepts in Power/Knowledge. Explain.

The idea that there is no separation between knowledge and the institutions of power


One of Foucault's key concepts in the Episteme. Explain.

A composite of discursive formations and institutional practices. That is, discourses and the institutions that put them into practice. For example, ‘modern medicine’ is an episteme built of experimental medical science and institutions such as hospitals and asylums. These are bound together in individuals who wield power through the ‘gaze’, i.e. their capacity and legitimacy in identifying a subject as requiring medical treatment. • The power of the clinician to look at the patient as an object of study. Object hood = inferiority in hierarchy


What was the Panopticon and why was it an important metaphor for Foucault?

Derives from the thought of Jeremy Bentham, came up with a design for a prison in which the prisoners would be in a position of being constantly watched, but would have no sense of when they were actually being watched. The prisoner therefore assumes the role of the guard and policies themselves because they have no sense of when they are actually being policed.


What is Foucault's idea of Governmentalilty?

A mode of rule through self-disciplining subjects which does not require a centre of power. Liberal states guarantee the rights of the individual, but how can that guarantee be carried out in practice? Force would undermine Liberalism. Panoptic rule, then, must dissolve into: the rule of the self. Because we are always possibly being watched, we are always watching and disciplining ourselves


What is meant by the term discourse?

The whole mental set or ideology which encloses the thinking of members of a given society. Discursive practice refers to the use of words to construct/define reality – but this does not, as we have seen, necessarily correspond to a ‘real’ reality. So, language can be and has been used to constrain (e.g. to define people as mentally ill). Who controls the discourse controls the terms of the debate.


What is another influential idea that is linked to Foucault but has been taken up by many historians of gender?

Performativity- the notion that words, speech, and behaviour 'perform' and thus communicate identities; they are not necessarily felt inwardly.


What other categories of historical study does Power link to?

Subaltern studies, race and otherness, gender, intersectionality


What does Foucault argue in Discipline and Punish?

That our system of punishment is now more barbaric than in the past. Power now looks kind but isn't whereas in the past it did not, and so people were able to rebel openly. The advent of modern prison system meant everything happens in private. The criminal used to be an object of pity, the executioner embodied shame and state power that the public could fight against. Punishment and the threat of this now play out on minds, not our physical bodies and therefore can do more to influence behaviour.


What is Repressive Power?

Foucault's idea, immediate connotations of violence. it also in some ways indicates a failure of other means if someone in a position of power has had to resort to other means to control others e.g. threat of being fired shows the boss does not command a lot of power


What is Normalising power?

Another form of power, as explored by Foucault. This form of power makes us do what we want to do anyway because what we have been taught by institutions of power has been long instilled in us. For example, not many people want to steal, and we have been taught not to steal from a young age. This helps to construct a view of what normal is. Furthermore, science cannot be divorced from power because it plays an important role in deciding what is normal.


Does the category of subaltern studies carry any risks?

There is a risk of flattening the complex lives of people living in colonies through the repeated reinforcement of the subaltern category and perspective.


Why was Orientalism seen as a turning point?

Said demonstrated how colonists textuality works at the level of image and language to produce a distorted representation of the colonies.


Why does Chatterjee keen to make a distinction between colonial and modern power?

If they are not distinguished, there will not recourse but to see the colonial period as little more than an episode in modern Europe's history. In the revisionist view, it is suggested that instead of the constitution a sharp break from the past colonisation can be shown to have an organic, internal connection to it.


To Chatterjee, what is distinctive about colonial power?

The rule of colonial difference- colonised are presented as an inferior other. It therefore becomes necessary to understand that within the structures and projects that gave shape to the colonial enterprise that there were discontinuities in which different political rationalities took the stage in commanding positions