Sunday, October 28, 2007

Postprotest and Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard is important for the reflection on postprotest. Postprotest sometimes proposes a combination of civil disobedience and production of positive alternatives, to create some kind of constructive or proactive resistance. In this text, however, Baudrillard criticizes the focus on “alternatives” as a way to defeat a dominant system; instead he suggests singularities. Here he also criticizes reactive protest movements:

”Who can defeat the global system? Certainly not the anti-globalization movement whose sole objective is to slow down global deregulation. This movement's political impact may well be important. But its symbolic impact is worthless. This movement's opposition is nothing more than an internal matter that the dominant system can easily keep under control. Positive alternatives cannot defeat the dominant system, but singularities that are neither positive nor negative can. Singularities are not alternatives. They represent a different symbolic order. They do not abide by value judgments or political realities. They can be the best or the worst. They cannot be "regularized" by means of a collective historical action. [6] They defeat any uniquely dominant thought. Yet they do not present themselves as a unique counter-thought. Simply, they create their own game and impose their own rules.”


Jean Baudrillard, The Violence of the Global, Translated by François Debrix, Initially published as "La Violence du Mondial," in Jean Baudrillard, Power Inferno, Paris: Galilée, 2002, pp. 63-83.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How does Foucault use "strategic"?

Undermining the idea that the meaning in a political action are placed somewhere else in, an instrumental reason, and that this “other” meaning is defining the value of the action, Foucault regards himself antistrategic.

In his own texts though, he is using strategic in different ways. Ali Rizvi suggests three distinct meanings of strategic in Foucault’s usage:

“1) Strategic as related to the space of freedom. In this sense Foucault contrasts strategic to what he calls “techne.”

2) Strategic in the sense of instrumentalism (explained earlier here).

3) Strategic as belonging to an ethos, certain value system. This belonging is strategic to the extent that one cannot give ultimate justification for it.”

Per Herngren

2007, version 0.1