Phoenix Luna (slack_scholar) wrote in michelfoucault,
Phoenix Luna

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Question about Foucault's theories of power

Hi, I'm a student in an Introductory Feminisms class and we're studying Foucault. I'm a little unsure of what Foucault means when he says that power is exercised rather than possessed. Can anyone explain this to me? Thank you.
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Mainly, power is not an essense, it is an action. For example, if I possess power itself, power is something that can be held and/or destroyed. If I exercise power I am engaging in a systematic action of force or coercion upon someone or something else. It's a fine distinction, but an important one in regards to critiques of classical Marxist-Structuralist modes (from Marx to Althusser).
Thank you!

pretty much what bookandcanal said.

This is why Foucault speaks of physics of power, because power is constantly an action on bodies.