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Posts Tagged ‘History’

On June 25, 1984, Michel Foucault reportedly died as a result of AIDS. One can only imagine how sweet this revenge must have tasted for the doctors: after all these years of being insulted in Foucault’s work, after all these accusations of perverted exercise of power over patients, they finally managed to discursively construct Focault as being HIV-positive.

What then, is Michel Foucault still doing on this blog? Why is he writing towards you, hypocrite lecteur – mon semblable – mon frère? I find this question as rallying as it is reassuring. Indeed, should not the author who assasinated the author live up to his own theory and stage his disappearance?  Thus, do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same, leave it to our bureaucrats and our policemen to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.

It is exactly because of this that I cherish the space of this blog, a space where statements can be made from that liminal position that is neither ‘in the true’ nor outside of it. Here indeed discourse rules as a sovereign over its reading subject, preventing it from doing whatever it is it would rather do.

It therefore hurts all the more to see this space littered with comments on Derrida – A Frenchman who spells différence as différance, quel connard! Luckily though, there are some interesting posts to be found as well, such as ‘Bus UND Bahn?!’ The question why there is no elaborate long-distance bus service in Germany, so pointedly raised in this article, is indeed worthy of further inspection. On August 20, I attended the ‘Autobus et train, c’est merveilleux’ conference at the Collège de France, where Jean-Jacques François pointed out a correlation between literal mobility and class mobility. Henceforth he proceeded to analyze the state’s refusal to provide a bus service as a deliberate attempt to keep the worker in place and to consolidate the current configuration of power.

But does this repressive hypothesis hold? Would the installation of a bus service really lead to the democratization of movement and to the unobstructed flow of subjects? I think not. Focusing rather on the productivity of power, a decision on behalf of the state and its corporate partners to enhance collective mobility can be read as an attempt to intensify the reach of biopolitical control. Indeed, to create a system based on the myth of ceaseless mobility is to uphold the enlightenment idea of the moving subject. The system itself takes over and panoptically regulates subject traffic – Die Bahn becomes the Unmoved Mover.

M.F.

(for a more detailed analysis, I refer to Foucault, M. 2024. The History of Mobility, vol. 1. Paris: Gallimard)

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