Foucault – The Mesh of Power

Foucault’s 1976 lecture ‘The Mesh of Power’ is available online in English (with a link to the French) at Viewpoint Magazine. This lecture was previously translated by Gerald Moore for the Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography collection Jeremy Crampton and I edited. But this version includes the discussion that followed Foucault’s lecture. Thanks to Peter Gratton for the link.

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9 Responses to Foucault – The Mesh of Power

  1. Teo Ballvé says:

    This is one of my favorite Foucault lectures. Does anyone know more precisely the references he’s making to Marx’s Capital? I have not found talk of power(s), army, etc in Volume II. Is he actually referencing the chapter on cooperation in Volume I? Anyone know?

    • I don’t know either but I bet it’s in Zizek somewhere. Evidently Fidel knew. He told Che not to go to Bolivia because he couldn’t succeed without the backing of the army.

      • But Che succeeded beyond his wildest imaginings even more so than Fidel. Che’s picture of his CIA murder hangs in the presidential palace of a democratically elected leader. And the UN and the US has diplomatic realations with Bolivia. Ha ha eat your heart out Fidel.

    • stuartelden says:

      I think he means the second volume of Capital as it appeared in French translation, which is the second half of volume I in the English standard edition. I should have spotted this for the note in the Foucault and Geography book.

  2. Clare O'Farrell says:

    Reblogged this on Foucault News.

  3. specularimage says:

    Reblogged this on Specular Image.

  4. Indeed, this is very important lecture by Foucault. Yet, I’m struggling with two notions. Namely, what Foucault means when he says “technology of power” and when he says “technique of power”. Is this merely a question of inconsistency in Foucault’s vocabulary or is there, as I suspect, deeper conceptual distinction between “technology” and “technique” of power?

    • stuartelden says:

      The French text is here – The translation looks to be consistent to the French distinction between technologie and technique. I don’t think Foucault is entirely consistent, but my sense is that technology captures a wider framework of operation, whereas a technique is a more specific instance. But on looking back at this piece, it’s clear he sometimes uses them interchangeably. One caution with this piece, is that the version in Dits et écrits is a translation of a translation (French lecture to Portuguese publication to French), and the English is a translation of that.

    • Technology is the whole ball of wax. Techniques are atomic items that are in use.

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