Foucault: The Legacy by Clare O'Farrell

By Clare O'Farrell

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In the early days of the war at least, the French Resistance amounted to not much more than this kind of gesture of defiance. In The Sorrow and the Pity two former members of the Resistance talk about their experience of the war. Marcel Faouche-Degliame states that, 'the problems of everyday life no longer existed: we were very free ... '. Emmanuel D'Astier says, 'I think you could only have joined the Resistance if you were maladjusted'. FaoucheDegliame concludes: 'free in the sense that, being outside organised society, all of society's objectives did not affect us very much, it simply didn't matter any more' (Ophuls 1975:118).

The phrase 'indomitable spirit' gives a wrong impression. It is possible that the failure, linked with its freedom comes about as much against the will of the one who fails as because of that will. The failure might be said to issue from the subject's resistance to subjectification. Foucault suggests that power should not be thought of as primarily destructive, but primarily creative. It produces the individual (Foucault 1991:194). It produces the soul (1991:29). Yet if the subject comes into being through subjection, how can such a subject be free or freed, when, as Foucault concludes, 'The man described for us, whom we are invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more profound than himself' (1991:30)?

The bulk of the population have no part in it... Day is the time for lynching, for sleep is sacred (Beckett 1976:62-3). However, the description of the society of surveillance is most apparent in part two of Molloy, that section narrated by the bourgeois spy Moran. Unlike Molloy, Moran, at least at the commencement ofhisnarrative, is very much part of society. And it is a society in which everyone is watching everyone else, the society of les autres described by Laurence Wylie. Moran is an agent of some sort working for a certain 'Youdi' who is something like Godot as his invisibility is linked with a perhaps exaggerated power.

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