Power and Knowledge

It just so happens that in a postmodern age and amidst a transition out of classic and modern discourse which in turn is defined by ontological turbulence and ontological upheaval, a nexus or intersection is emerging between disparate fields and occupations such as politics, academia, law, and medicine, in the sense that all of these disparate fields and occupations now have to collectively orient themselves to the question of how to deal with this ontological upheaval and ontological turbulence. There are legal, medical, political, and intellectual implications to the ontological upheaval and turbulence of a postmodern age, thus the emerging nexus and intersection between these disparate fields and occupations.

Although the nexus and intersection are emerging in an epistemological sense between these disparate fields and occupations, the orientation towards this emerging nexus, intersection, or question of our time has been slowest in the area of politics and power. But that does not mean that the orientation towards this emerging nexus, intersection, or question is not occurring in the realm of politics and power or that the orientation can never occur. As Foucault wrote:

“In short, there is a problem of the regime, the politics of the scientific statement. At this level it’s not so much a matter of knowing what external power imposes itself on science, as of what effects of power circulate among scientific statements, what constitutes, as it were, their internal regime of power, and how and why at certain moments that regime undergoes a global modification.”

As a result, knowledge has a love-hate relationship with power, in the sense that while the primary responsibility of academics and intellectuals is to speak truth to power and to expose its lies, there is a dual function to telling truth to power and exposing its lies, in the sense that the criticism and deconstruction of power should also aid in the evolution, reform, and transformation of power. The proof of such a dual function is manifest in how the aforementioned nexus and intersection is emerging between both power and knowledge in a postmodern age.

But on a very basic level, both the survival of the modern state as well as the facilitation of power’s adjustment to natural and social evolutions and phenomena amidst the postmodern ontological turbulence and upheaval are the two core reasons behind the emerging nexus and intersection between power and knowledge, according to Wael Hallaq’s analysis of Foucault’s suggestion of a nexus and intersection between power and knowledge. 

Also, the emergence of a nexus and intersection between power and knowledge is occurring amidst what Vivek Chibber called a “cultural turn” away from the industrialization of a modern age to the “de-industrialization” of a postmodern age. What this “cultural turn” resulting from the transition away from industrialization and towards de-industrialization means overall for the basic social structure or system of class hegemony in Western society will become manifest over the course of time. There is also a paradox associated with such a transition, in the sense that while the transition has weakened the popular and working classes to a certain extent, it has also empowered them politically vis-à-vis the ruling class. Put together, all the aforementioned points have prompted somewhat of a need for both a novel orientation towards class relations on the part of the ruling class, as well as a novel orientation towards knowledge on the part of the ruling class. 

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