Intellectuals & Power:
A Conversation Between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze
The conversation with these two post-structuralist intellectuals was recorded in 1972 and discusses issues surrounding class struggle as well as theory, practice and power. I outlined the main arguments in the following sections:
Deleuze: a theory is “always local and related to a limited field, and it is applied in another sphere.” Once it is categorized, a theory will face challenges that will require further or alternative discourse. This is confusing for me because later Deleuze states, “We don’t revise a theory, but construct new ones” (2). Once a theory is not applicable, it must be disregarded?
Foucault: The intellectuals are responsible for developing consciousness and discourse concerning power. Their theories are their practice because power “transforms [them] into it’s object.
Deleuze: “If the protests of children were heard in kindergarten, if their questions were attended to, it would be enough to explode the entire educational system” (3). Does this mean that in theory, every voice should be heard, but in reality, only those in power are heard? If so, what does this say about our use of representation?
Foucault: “It is often difficult to say who holds power in a precise sense, but it is easy to see who lacks power” (5). This is why power struggles are so prominent in most societies.