and Citizen X
Chapter Three - Part Five
In Part Four, I brought in three elements crucial to the development of the remainder of this blog series.
Those elements are: Resistance, Deontic Power, and Biopower.
In Part Five, I will continue exploring these elements.
A shift of power
Until the coming of Enlightenment values and industrial capabilities, the general forms of western political power were ‘monarchal’ and ‘aristocratic:’ the power of kings: the oppressive and domineering power that gave the sovereign authority “le droit de fait mourir ou laisser vivre.”
Monarchal and Aristocratic power entail explicit control, where the sovereign authority has direct, justified access to the bodies, lives, and opportunities of his subjects.
In this context, political power was considered the sole possession of a lone sovereign or ruling class. Current philosophical inquiries into the subject, following Foucault, have to admit to a shifting in the locus of political power.
With the growing specialization, consolidation, and cohesion of industrial, political, and economic systems, the traditional concept of ‘power as sovereign’ fails to hold.
No longer confined to the simple form of an absolute ruler, the paradigm and structural mechanisms of sovereignty have become embedded in and internal to the social system itself. Modern sovereignty, says Foucault, is embodied in “more-or-less organized, hierarchical, coordinated cluster[s] of relations.”