Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Foucault & Chomsky - Applicable to today?

This is a famous debate and while obviously dated, I was watching and pondering whether it applies to modern times. Foucault's point of systems of power, specifically around knowledge, seems to define contemporary times. While western democracy has propagated freedom and rights, knowledge has been constructed as a market "good." Thus, knowledge can be owned in our society and another who accesses another's "knowledge" without permission is a criminal. What I find fascinating in this construction of knowledge is that it is a system, designed or by accident, that oppresses humans via knowledge; and puts the moral blame on the oppressed. This would be analogous to not allowing citizens to read, and any citizen who could read was a criminal and immoral. The mechanisms of knowledge have changed since the 12th century; but the drive to control and own knowledge remain the same.

Part 1:

Part 2:

1 comment:

Justin said...

After writing this I am reminded of debates I hear among my friends on home loans and people who have refinanced houses. The statement, "I took out a loan for my house and I knew what I was doing. You should be more responsible when taking out a loan" comes to mind. The often stated, "ignorance is not a defense." These are examples of how integrated into our thinking that knowledge is in our classification of society. As though all citizens have the same privileges, education, and access to knowledge.