The Poverty of Political Struggle: Transformation through Critique

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Zulfiqar Ali, Z. (2011). The Poverty of Political Struggle: Transformation through Critique. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 50(2), 29–43.
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In this paper I argue that Foucault’s archaeological and genealogical analysis of the formation of discourses contest the Marxist popular argument that the political movement can bring about substantial change in society. By political movement I mean a particular form of political struggle which is based upon the ideals of universal justice, truth and freedom. These movements aim to shape the political will of masses to bring change. The intellectuals and leaders of such movements find masses in so deprived situation that the struggle on their part appears no viable option. Masses are either conceived in a state of ignorance or incapable of organizing the movement by themselves. They need shepherds, prophets, intellectuals or leaders. I find three fundamental presumptions upon which these political movements ground their struggle. First, the idea of universal justice and freedom give impetus to these struggles. Second, they believe in change through mass movement. Third, they believe that the taking control of state would bring about a genuine change. Foucault contests all these presumptions on genealogical and archaeological basis.
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Copyright (c) 2011 Zulfiqar Ali


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