Foucault’s power process…I think.

As I understand, Foucault explains that power is a process that escalates in intensity. Power, actually, is the least intense phase of the process. First, there is a “relationship of power” (794), which involves the potential for “action upon possible action” (794) and only exists if there is freedom “for power to be exerted” (790). Then, the relationship could turn into a confrontation between two adversaries if antagonistic action and reaction begins to take place (794). Next, if one of the adversaries wins, there is a “putting into operation of mechanisms of power” (794). Finally, there is “domination” if the consequences of power “can…be found descending to the most recalcitrant fibers of society” (794).

This process of power makes me think we’re missing significant parts of some of the stories that we’re coming to know in The Avian Gospels, but I expect these gaps will be filled in eventually. For example, we can see a relationship of power and a confrontation between Morgan and Zvominir in their control over the birds. First, there is the relationship of power: we know that Zvominir has more skill than Morgan, put nothing comes of that information right away. Still, there is the freedom for Zvominir to exert his power over Morgan. Then, Morgan makes a portrait of Katherine with the birds, and Zvominir changes the images repeatedly. Here is a confrontation between two adversaries. Ultimately, though, neither of them “wins.” Rather, they seem to reconcile. 

However, there is a moment of a “putting into operation of mechanisms of power” when the soldiers order Morgan not to make Katherine’s portrait anymore, and he doesn’t (Novy 220). Here, the soldiers win. Also in regards to the soldiers/the RedBlacks, there is “domination.” The Judge’s government has permeated society thoroughly enough to constitute Foucault’s explanation of domination. Earlier, Morgan had seemed like one of the most “recalcitrant” members of society, but now the RedBlacks have dominated him.

What seems to be missing from these two narratives of the power process is operating the mechanism of power and dominating on the part of Zvominir and Morgan. Will this ever happen, or have they really reconciled? And what seems to be missing from the power process of the RedBlacks and the Gypsies/Norwegians/Swedes is our knowledge of the relationship of power and the confrontation stages and also the point at which domination permeates society completely and applies to the other members of the current adversaries, not just Morgan. I bet our knowledge of these stages is coming. Will the RedBlacks dominate all the Gypsies/Norwegians, even Jane? Also, does Charlie’s death have something to do with the transition between the Judge, the Gypsies, and the relationship of power and the confrontation?

 

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