"Critical Theory" as a coprophage's delight

professor rat pro2rat at yahoo.com.au
Tue Aug 16 20:14:20 PDT 2022

" . . .  If “we are caught between the arrogance of surveying the whole and the timidity of inspecting the parts,” as Rebecca Comay aptly put it, how does the second alternative (Foucault’s) represent an advance over liberal reformism in general? 
This seems an especially pertinent question when one remembers how much Foucault’s whole enterprise was aimed at disabusing us of the illusions of humanist reformers throughout history. 
The “specific intellectual” in fact turns out to be just one more expert, one more liberal attacking specifics rather than the roots of problems. 
And looking at the content of his activism, which was mainly in the area of penal reform, the orientation is almost too tepid to even qualify as liberal. 
In the ’80s “he tried to gather, under the aegis of his chair at the College de France, historians, lawyers, judges, psychiatrists and doctors concerned with law and punishment,” according to Keith Gandal. All the cops. “
The work I did on the historical relativity of the prison form,” said Foucault, “was an incitation to try to think of other forms of punishment.” Obviously, he accepted the legitimacy of this society and of punishment; no less unsurprising was his corollary dismissal of anarchists as infantile in their hopes for the future and faith in human potential. . . "

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