Foucault gegen Foucault (arte)

http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/050573-000/foucault-gegen-foucault

„Mit seinen desillusionierenden Gesellschaftsanalysen wurde Michel Foucault zu einem der bedeutendsten und umstrittensten Philosophen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Foucault starb vor 30 Jahren, am 25. Juni 1984, im Alter von 57 Jahren an Aids. Zum 30. Todestag zeigt ARTE ein Porträt, das Foucaults unglaublich vielseitiges, in nur 20 Jahren geschaffenes Werk sowie seine Zeit beleuchtet“

„Michel Foucault gilt als einer der wichtigsten Vertreter des französischen Strukturalismus. Seine Arbeiten, in denen er das Entstehen und die Mechanismen von Macht untersucht, und Schulen, Kasernen und Krankenhäuser mit Gefängnissen vergleicht, sorgten stets für Kontroversen. Zu seinen wichtigsten Werken zählen unter anderem „Wahnsinn und Gesellschaft“, „Die Ordnung der Dinge“, „Archäologie des Wissens“, „Überwachen und Strafen“ sowie seine großangelegte, dreiteilige Geschichte der Sexualität.

Wie seine Schriften war auch der Mensch Foucault komplex und voller Widersprüche: einerseits ein politisch engagierter und streitbarer Freigeist und Aktivist des Mai 68, andererseits ein Gelehrter, der seinen Lehrstuhl für die Geschichte der Denksysteme (1970-1984) am Collège de France sehr ernst nahm und sich als zentrale Figur der Institution Universität verstand. Foucault war ein scharfsinniger und rebellischer Intellektueller, der sich sowohl im akademischen als auch im öffentlichen Raum einmischte; ein Mann seiner Zeit, der ein zeitloses Werk schuf und Maßstäbe setzte.

Die Dokumentation beschreibt Foucaults philosophische Entwicklung, die nie linear verlief, sich oft selbst negierte, verschiedene Ansätze, Disziplinen und Forschungsgegenstände wählte, aber stets kohärent blieb. Er war Vertreter des Poststrukturalismus, Psychologe, Historiker, Soziologe und Begründer der Diskursanalyse. In 20-jähriger Arbeit entstand ein Gesamtwerk, dessen allgemein anerkannte Originalität wohl einzigartig ist.“

Der Prozeß von Frankz Kafka – Von der Schuld des Menschseins

Was heißt es Mensch zu sein? Welche sind die Strukturen die dem Menschen in seinem Dasein zugrunde liegen? Können wir in dem was uns in unserem Leben widerfährt Gemeinsamkeiten mit anderen Menschen finden? Franz Kafkas Roman gehört in die Reihe von Büchern die sich mit diesen Themen befassen und Fragen an die Existenz des Lesers selber richten. Kafka konstruiert einen Zugriff auf das innere Wesens des Lesers der sich mit Freude, Ekel, Scham, Hoffnung und Verzweiflung in die Handlung des Buches rein ziehen lässt und zum Schluss selbst die eigentliche Hauptrolle spielt. Der Dialog zwischen Roman und Leser bewirkt eine einzigartige Metamorphose: Verschiedene Menschen mögen zwar das gleiche Buch lesen, durch die verschiedenen Lebensgeschichten und Erfahrungen der Leser unterscheidet sich aber die Entdeckung die sie durch das Buch machen. Um einer Analyse von Kafkas Roman Der Prozeß gerecht zu werden muss deshalb, aus hermeneutischen oder phänomenologischen Gründen, an dieser Stelle etwas ausgeholt werden und ein Hintergrund zur eigenen Lesung dieses Buches präsentiert werden. Zwei Romane die den Leser vor ähnliche existentielle Fragen wie Der Prozeß stellen, sind Der Fremde und Der Fall von Albert Camus welche um die dreißig Jahre nach Kafkas Buch veröffentlicht wurden. Was diese zwei Werke, und wie ich zeigen werde auch Kafkas Roman, zu verbinden scheint ist die Frage nach einer grundlegenden Schuld oder Unschuld des Menschen und die Beziehung zu seinem Sein. In Der Fremde begegnet uns eine Gestalt die keine wirkliche Auffassung eines eigenen Seins hat und daher auch keine wirklichen Präferenzen, Träume oder Gefühle. Es ist ihm unmöglich seinen Taten irgendeinen Wert zu geben und es sind nur andere Menschen die über ihn urteilen können. Es ist auch das Urteil der anderen das ihn am Ende zwingt ein eigenes Sein anzuerkennen und es ist in diesem Augenblick das er sich zum ersten Mal für seine Taten verantwortlich sehen muss. Der Fall stellt ein umgekehrtes Szenario da wo die Hauptperson durch die ständige Analyse des eigenen Seins sich mit immer mehr Schuld belastet und daraufhin den eigenen Verfall hervorruft. Die Fragen welche die zwei Werke von Camus behandeln, welche in die Lesung von Kafkas Buch mit einspielen, lassen uns über das Entstehen der Schuld nachdenken, ob der Mensch in seiner natürlichen Begebenheit schuldig oder unschuldig ist und welche Rolle das eigene Sein in diesem Zusammenhang spielt. Das Konzept der Schuld zeigt sich bei Kafka deutlicher als bei Camus und im Grunde genommen ist jede Person die Kafka uns zeigt in irgendeiner Weise schuldig. Anzufangen ist mit der Hauptperson, Josef K., der sich zwar gesetzlich noch nie etwas zu Schulden kommen lassen hat, aber doch eines Tages in seiner Wohnung verhaftet wird und durch die Erzählung hindurch einem Prozess unterliegt. Dieses Verfahren und deren Organisation ähneln doch keinem Rechtsfall im üblichen Sinne. Das Gericht scheint keinerlei Verbindungen zu den üblichen Institutionen zu haben und es wird niemals auch nur angedeutet aus welchem Grund Josef K. angeklagt wird. Selbst im Gespräch mit Personen die dem Gericht nahe stehen wird dieser Hintergrund niemals deutlich. Es handelt sich hier um eine andere Schuld als die der Justiz die Kafka uns nahe bringen will. Bemerkenswert ist auch das Josef K. selber schnell von der Neugierde für den Hintergrund seiner Schuld abweicht und fortan nur versucht mit seinem Verfahren fertig zu werden, überzeugt das er unschuldig ist. Es scheint allein die Bürde des schuldig sein zu sein die Ihn zum handeln zwingt und der Versuch dem zu entfliehen. Unter anderem werden Josef K. einige Möglichkeiten zum Entzug des Verfahrens angeboten, zwielichtige Angebote durch Bestechung, eine ständig fortwährende Untersuchungsphase die Josef K. ein ständig wiederholtes Gegenüberstellen mit der Schuld abverlangen würde oder eine Freilassung die aber zu gegebener Zeit wieder zurückgenommen wird. Josef K. sucht doch keinen solchen Ausweg Er ist von seiner Unschuld überzeugt und will freigesprochen werden ohne eine Spur von Schuld zu hinterlassen. Dieser Glaube an seine Unschuld nimmt doch im Gang der Erzählung ab und endet mit dem Tode von Josef K. Ob dieser seine Schuld eingestanden hat oder einsah das er sich der Schuld die ihm aufgelegt wurde nicht entziehen kann wird nicht klar. Deutlich wird aber das Josef. K auch wenn er noch so sehr gegen seine Schuld kämpft diese nicht abwerfen kann, bis in den Tod von ihr begleitet wird und dieses Schicksal akzeptiert.319115_228847347171846_173497737_nWieso ist grade Josef K. schuldig? Dieser scheint uns in keinerlei Hinsicht eine schlechte Person zu sein und seine moralischen Schwächen würden wir ihm zu jeder Zeit verzeihen. Es gibt hier ganz andere Personen in der Erzählung die uns wirklich zur Abneigung zwinge. Die Frau des Gerichtshelfers welche sich Josef K. anbietet und sich auch nicht gegen die wiederholte Verschleppung durch einen Studenten und dem Richter wehrt ist eine dieser Personen, genauso wie das Mädchen Leni die sich durch ihren unsittlichen Umgang mit Männern und der damit verbundene Betrug gegenüber Josef K., sowie ihrer unmenschlichen Art gegenüber dem Herren Block, als schuldig erweist. Bestechliche Diener und Angestellte des Gerichtes, sogar Richter, sowie Hab- und Machtgier sind Eigenschaften die sich wiederholen. Und doch bleibt es Josef K. der angeklagt ist und als schuldig angesehen wird. Gewiss, Josef K. zeigt uns nicht nur seine guten Seiten. Sein manchmal hemmungsloser Umgang mit Frauen, sein etwas voreingenommenes Richten, sowie sein Vermögen List und Lüge anzuwenden, kommen ihm alle zu Lasten. Was doch der wirkliche Unterschied zwischen den oft verwerflichen Gestalten und Josef K. ist, ist dass dieser über seine Schuld nachdenkt.  Hier spielt auch der Blick der anderen ein die ihn mit Schuld beladen. Dieses wird deutlich als Josef K. ohne Erlaubnis in das Zimmer von Frau Bürstner eintritt und sich dafür schämt weil er nicht sicher ist ob er beobachtet wurde. Dadurch das er eingesteht das er für schuldig gehalten wird ist es als ob er sich mit dieser Schuld identifiziert und mehr und mehr wird sein handeln von dieser Schuld beeinträchtigt. Der Bruch mit dem Vertrauen an seine Unschuld geschieht, ironischer Weise, im Gespräch mit einem Geistigen im Dom. Für Josef K. und den Leser bestätigt dieses Gespräch das es sich hier wirklich nicht um ein gesetzliches Verfahren der üblichen Art handelt sondern dass es einen existentiellen Charakter hat. Das dies grade in einem Dom geschieht ist eine natürliche Referenz zu der Christlichen Doktrin der angeborenen und ewigen Schuld des Menschen. De Satz des Geistigen im Dom: „das Urteil kommt nicht mit einmal, das Verfahren geht allmählich ins Urteil über“, fasst die Essenz dieses Buches wunderbar zusammen. Weil Josef K., ein Mensch ist kann dieser von anderen mit Schuld belastet werden, gleichzeitig kann dieser aber auch selbst Schuld in seine Handlungen injizieren. Das Aneignen und das Erkennen dieser Schuld, das Verfahren des Schuldempfindens und des Versuches ihr zu entkommen ist was in Kafkas Roman im Mittelpunkt steht und hierdurch beschreibt er eine zentrale Eigenschaft des Menschlichen Lebens, eine Situation die bis zum Tod, und für Josef K. sogar noch weiterreicht.

Restricting freedom with freedom

Abstract

This essay focuses on the phenomenon of citizenship from the position that  structures of power consist of a relation, in this case between governed subjects, migrants, and the governing national/supranational state. The Nietzschean standpoint is that every individual and every group has a will, and thereby a power, aimed towards the world. From this perspective, any power relation builds upon the actions of each position involved, in this case the migrants, just as the state.
In western liberal democracies the state can no longer operate without its actions in some way being justified in regard to it’s citizens. This makes the notion of immigration an interesting one. If citizens of the western world can be seen as people who in general hold fairly democratic views (by dogma or true belief), such as basic human rights, then what reasons are there for them to justify the state’s growing limitations upon immigration and deportation of foreigners? In terms which fit in to our construction of power relation, can there be a problematic function found within immigrants’ self positioning that might act as an object for the state to use against them, to put immigrants in a problematic spot which justifies restrictions upon immigration.

Introduction
Citizenship and migration share today a close bond. Over time one can see a clear trend of citizenship being restricted to include those who are viewed as unproblematic to the state and society and excluding those who are seen as dangerous, problematic to society if given too much power. Though the different types of rights and responsibilities covered by the different statuses surrounding citizenship vary (visa, citizen, asylum seeker, etc. and rights such as right to vote, being included in the welfare system, right to work, etc.) a clear enough trend of exclusion and inclusion according to an individual’s presumed value or problematic position for the state and society can be found and used for a essay’s starting point.
A few examples of groups within society that once were excluded because of their presupposed threat to order and security were the Afro-Americans, who actually through an act of heightened attention on a supposed problematic position had their newly gained rights revoked, the same as for women in Britain.  Women were also seen as a problem if given too much power because of assumed differences in thought and physical value to state and society and were thereby excluded from political rights.
The same trend holds in today’s society. That ex-convicts in the United States still have their right to vote invoked is a clear example of this trend. Today’s times of globalization and migration have made this trend visible even in a global context. For Europe and Sweden the legal status of immigrants and their applications is the clearest sign of this maintained structure. Immigration having been a subject of discussion since at least the 1930s, the urgency of today’s flow of immigrants from war and poverty struck countries, the rise and war against politicized Islamism, and society’s defined by a growing ethnic class-segregation has put the status of these new individuals who enter our society and the resulting actions taken at the top of the discussion board.
In the later years we have even witnessed a growing restrictive and hardened sentiment towards immigration and border control. The project of border control is for example today even active inside Sweden’s borders, with police having the right to randomly stop and ask individuals for their papers.
The discourses of citizenship and the statuses surrounding it are of course intersectional. Me being born in Sweden, growing up in Germany, having a Danish passport and now living in Sweden for 13 years and not having the right to take part in the national vote is certainly different from an Afghani refugee seeking asylum in Sweden. While the same discourses might apply at certain levels the focus of this paper will be on discourses surrounding the stereo typified immigrants if you so will.

Restricted citizenship
The status which migrated individuals receive and/or can aspire to is dependent on the specific assumed value/problem for society.  Restrictions upon dual nationality and change of nationality apply to the same principle as immigrants’ status, having to deal with the fact that a previous nationality and possible problematic attachments may follow individuals into the new country. These problems become ever more heated by conflicts in society being explained as clashes between cultures.
Immigrants in different ways are being defined as problematic justifies the restrictions put upon immigrants and immigration/citizenship. Justified must here be understood in the broader sense. Although certain migration may indeed pose a problem for the state (though these problems often may arise from discourses imbedded not within the new individuals arriving, but structures already at place), one must still give credit to certain public ideals within Swedish and European thought, (how dogmatic or relative these might be) which do emphasize basic human and democratic rights, in principle stopping any democratic government from restricting immigrant’s passage and rights.
As Spinoza writes, every democratic state and all its actions must be justified and tolerated by its citizens for the government to maintain its power.  To summarize this in easier terms, the limitation and restriction upon immigration and immigrant’s rights must be justified by society’s citizens, meaning there must be good enough reason, or the illusion of reason, for the public to agree on the state’s actions towards restrictive immigration and citizenship, besides reason for the state to assume these measures.

Justified restriction
What are then these reasons by which today’s restrictions towards immigration and citizenship are justified? Of course there are many different functions and discourses to be summed up here, and there might be doubt that we will ever understand this entire changing phenomenon. The already mentioned cultural discourse is as stated one of the most urgent dimensions of debate and also one of the fields I myself am dealing with. In my study of the rhetoric of the integration policy of the city of Malmö, I found the notion of culture to be the most interesting one. In my findings, culture becomes the main argument for explaining differences between people and people’s behavior and lives.  On one hand this essentialist view would explain immigrant’s segregation as partly caused by structures within society, but their essential position still being posing a sort of double trouble. The essential finding was that this view of cultural determinism ranged from individual’s physical lives to judgments about their psychological properties and morals. What was even more interesting was the finding of culture acting as a dialectic signifier. Culture becomes the signifier of identification and differentiation in which individuals are essentially defined by their cultural heritage. This gives on one hand the Swedish or European position the possibility to define itself as automatically holding good humane and democratic values.  In the critique of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, this culture is a nihilistic one which isn’t product of individual will but simply a constructed set of identifiable norms that is followed.  One acts/is believed to act well, not out of an individual will, but because of one´s determination under a cultural heritage. On the other hand, the belief and the necessity of this essentialist structure, must, to function for the own definition of self, therefore also apply to others, thereby degrading the unknown other to being defined by its own presumed cultural preferences. The situation, behavior and reasons are thereby seen as a generalized product of cultural determinism.
Against this view I have used the notion of existential constructivism which basically strips the individual from its constructions via culture, identity, etc. While the individual always is tuned into and confronted with the world around here, the way the individual interprets and acts in the world is a relative phenomenon, dependent on the individual in question . Notions of culture, religion, identity, nationhood, are here for seen as constructions which do not carry any right of truth or determination. In Nietzsche’s terms, history and so culture, are perspectives which constantly must be revalued to be able to have a gaining impact on life.
Relating to the Foucauldian approach to power, every position has the ability to somehow combating a power structure, even if these abilities might be very small. My argument here forth will be that the notion of culture in itself, by not being redefined in a way that enforces ones power, may act as one of the barriers which undermine individual’s empowerment within society and even threaten the outlook for immigrants now and in the future.
The structures of cultural determinism, xenophobia, etc. are very much complex as such and can be argued about forever. For our needs culture as a marker for definition and self-definition will do. Bringing it together with this essay’s Foucauldian presupposition, it is one thing for the original ethnic population to have presupposed or badly founded views of immigrants, but this would in turn leave out the immigrant’s own power and part in the upholding or destructing the relationship between these positions. In other words, for the state to enforce restrictiveness towards migration and citizenship, a justification must be upheld by the state and its citizens, which in turn must find some valid reason to hold on to these beliefs. An explanation that would put the blame in xenophobic and racist sentiment seems to narrow minded here as it would also undermine the basic Foucauldian structure that power always is a relationship between at least two interacting positions. For a general public to reproduce beliefs about immigrants, the immigrant’s own part, responsibility and opportunity in reinforcing or combating these beliefs become a necessary part of the power structure. This is not to misinterpret at freeing any position from responsibility, rather it follows the harsh reality of any power structure always being relational. In Foucault’s terms, even the most oppressed person always has the possibility of committing suicide or killing the master.   Although governing and dominant structures of power are something to be avoided and worked against, one should not refrain from the fact that there is a part, a responsibility and an opportunity in all positions within any power structure.  In the case of immigrants one must therefore also take hold of how these individuals themselves uphold or combat these power structures and what structures might prevent them to.

The culture problem
Connecting to the notion of culture, as I have proposed culture today acts as one of the furthest ways to categorize one self and others. This causes a problem within modern and postmodern theory which calls to attention the (re)productive tendencies of society’s own problematic identities. Foucault has shown us how the institutionalization of individuals may enhance or even foster the same problematic identity it was supposed to suppress.  Also Anthony Giddens talks about this structure, writing that the modern individual chooses from different identities believing this choice being up to her, while it really being the institutionalized and socialized boundaries of identity in which the individual finds herself within which she chooses an identity . If immigrant’s lives today in a high degree are being determined by cultural signifiers which explain their lives and behavior, what other role does culture play in the upholding of this power structure, which ultimately puts citizenship and migration in a problematic spot.
Here there are some historical implications. Kivisto and Faist show us that the Afro-Americans first gain of right which differed from the movement in the 20th century by its emphasis of morally unjustified empowerment against the later empowerment that should be justified not by own initiative and self empowerment, but by the claim of basic human rights, resulting in claims for affirmative action.  In other words, rights were no longer to be taken, they were to be given. They also refer to this same problematic within today’s welfare states where rights are often taken for granted, not worked for.  What differs is the self empowerment if you so will, the own manifestation against an opposite power .
This structural change is also noted by Kofman and her critique of the 20th century feminist movement. What she adds to our discussion is her critique of later feminism which I would summarize as claiming rights not for women as human individuals, but for women as women. Hence, there is an emphasis on a basic right of women resembling a form of affirmative action, affirming women as women.
Applying there structures, in theory, to the dimension of ethnicity and culture, it paints an interesting picture. Apparently there has been a trend for marginalized groups to be claiming rights with the claim of both moral justification and it’s affirmativeness towards its individual’s being, reflective of the modern discourse on identity. Could this sort of affirmative ideology also be part of the multicultural discourse, part of the debate of migration and citizenship? The modern discourse in the creation of identity reproduces its own subjects, risking forming immigrants into the problematic position they are assumed to inherit. The multicultural and neoliberal focus on culture as something defining for individuals may in turn even trigger a self-consciousness which relates itself to certain cultural traits while at the same time excusing it.

Problems for the future
The discourses described become potentially threatening to immigrants safety in their residency and future immigrants possibilities of migration. If discourses of identity produce a certain kind of cultural image which individuals risk to adapt to, and if cultural essentialism may explain and justify certain culturally explained behavior, taking away the need for any cultural identity to change to become appealing, or at least not appalling, the problematic positioning of a few may come back to haunt the majority of immigrants not having any part in this. If claims such as incorporating certain laws of Sharia are made by enough individuals to create at least the sense of a threat, then there is the risk for, and I believe there will be, a drastic breakdown of political and social rights for immigrants and even more restrictive migration, if the borders are not closed at all. There is the risk that once again the many will have to suffer for the acts of few – that rights are everlasting is not a given, we have already seen how fast such processes can be and it would be idiotic to follow Hegel’s belief of the Western world today being history’s final result.

Conclusion
I believe British commentator and debater Douglas Murray is quite on point when he in a debate stated that neoliberalism does not know how to defend itself. One can translate this into several meanings, but I believe what he was trying to say was that basically the neoliberal idea of multiculturalism has reached a point of self-contradictory. On one hand neoliberalism and its multicultural system defends culture and religion as part of basic human rights of expression thereby tolerating social cultural and religious expressions that are not one’s own. This has become problematic with the multicultural system acting as a shield for not only radical views, but also a social agreement over cultural presuppositions being essentially part of all individual’s self. Except for discourses that actually foster there problematic identities, this also results in the minority of actually problematic individuals becoming indistinguishable from those none problematic, both share a common cultural markers. This problematic view upon immigrants does indeed in result justify restrictive citizenship migration politics for immigrants may per sé be defined as a problem for society. Where this will lead in the future I believe it quite clear. I do not see any ethnic takeover of Sharia laws or any such happening as many radicals might have it. Rather, before such a point might ever be reached, the intrusion of problematic individuals through immigration will result in the deportation of immigrants and the closing of borders.
To make sure that individuals in the future can continue to find safe havens in the world, the responsibility is not only on, in this case, Sweden or Europe to fight for humane and democratic values, it must also be up to the newly arriving individuals to actively make sure that these principles can be put and kept in place. Rights must be taken, not given . Even if this means that religious and cultural traits must be put away.
The problematic notions surrounding immigrant’s own part in upholding power structures that threaten their legal status and possibilities in life has opened for quite a few areas if inquiry. On one hand it has enabled the decentralizing of ethnicity as an existing phenomenon per sé and instead points towards underlying structures such as class, structures within the welfare states, etc. On the other hand, it has, by focusing on individual’s own part in every power relation, put forth the problem of cultural determination. From the existential worldview my approach derives from, culture, religion, and every such phenomenon must be viewed as constructions which may be used by individual’s to enhance their lives, but shouldn’t be used in an essentialist way meaning not being able to adept culture or oneself to the required circumstances. What the secularization of the western world meant was a loosening up of moral values, where individuals for themselves had to find out what was good and what was evil. Though this secularization is a questionable one, fact remains that freedom of religion, meaning freedom of dogma, has been one of the western notions of democracy and freedom. The paradox arises when an essential freedom, the freedom of religion and culture, actually undermine individual’s freedom, or in the worst case, collide with other freedoms.

References
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Brochmann, Grete, Hammar, Tomas – Mechanisms of Immigration Control – Berg, Strobrittanien 1999
Foucault, Michel – Discipline and Punish– The Birth of the Prison –Penguin Books, London 1991
Giddens, Anthony – Modernity and Self-Identity – Self and Society in the Late Modern Age – Polity Press, Oxford 1998
Heidegger, Martin – Sein und Zeit – Max Niemeyer Verlag Tübingen, Tyskland 2006
Hindess, Barry – Discourses of power –From Hobbes to Foucault – Blackwell, Cornwall 1996
Kierkegaard, Søren – Samlede Værker Bind 5 – Gyldendal, Danmark 1991
Kivisto, Peter, Faist, Thomas – Citizenship – Discourse, Theory, and Transnational Prospects – Blackwell Publishing, Australia 2007
Kofman, Elenore – Citizenship for some but not for others: spaces of citizenship in contemporary Europe – Butterworth Heinemann 1995
Lui, Roby n – Governing Refugees – Borderlands e-journal vol.2, 2002
Nietzsche, Friedrich – Jenseits von Gut und Böse – und – Zur Genealogi der Moral –  Anaconda, Köln 2006
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Spinoza, Benedict –A Theological Treatise and A Political Treatise– Dover, New York 2004
Yuval-Davis, Nira – Women, Citizenship and Difference, Palgrave Macmillan Journals