NORMS, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SUBJECTS: POLITICS AND ETHICS OF DEAF SUBJECTIVITY
Building on Michel Foucault’s thinking, my paper is a reflection on the concept of “norm”. The first part of the presentation discusses the emergence and development of Foucault’s conception of norm in his writings and courses at the Collège de France, exploring the interaction between Foucault’s two registers in which norms operate: at the level of the individual through mechanisms of discipline and at the level of populations through mechanisms of social control and regulation.
In the second part, I move from a philosophical perspective to a historical analysis, testing the Foucaultian framework in a field that he did not explore: the issue of deafness and the construction of the deaf subject. This connection between philosophical reflection and historical research is, I want to show, a prerequisite for diagnosing the present – and as such one of the most important aspects of Foucault’s method. Finally, I will raise the problem of resistance: how can we conceptualize a resistance against the norms imposed on ourselves and against this process of normalization that produces us as specific subjects?
COUNTER-MAPPING THE EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTALITY OF HUMAN MOBILITY: MIGRANTS’ STRUGGLES, PRACTICES OF RESISTANCE, AND REGIMES OF DISCURSIVITY
In this presentation I will use Foucault’s toolbox to come to grips with the stakes involved in the political technology that is presently hinged to the governing of migration in Europe, analyzing at the same time how such a governmental rationality is radically challenged by migrants’ struggles. My analytical approach consists in questioning at the very root the idea that human mobility is something to be governed, and, at the same time, in considering the migratory issue as a “political laboratory” to be analyzed within the broader regime of the governmentality of human mobility.
Rather than testing the Foucaultian grid of analysis by referring it to domains Foucault never dealt with, my point is to use some of his conceptual categories because of the “effects of reality” they can produce in our present. I will start by relating my topic to the activities of the Groupe d’information sur les prisons (co-founded by Foucault in 1971), to see the extent to which it may be useful to understand how to connect the issue of migrations to other social struggles over mobility. As a second step, I will explain why the categories of governmentality and practices of resistance can constitute the main analytical grid of intelligibility for framing migrants’ movements and highlighting their relative autonomy with respect to power. Finally, I will conclude by making an inroad to the practices of counter-mapping in order to show how undocumented migrants challenge both the politics of knowledge and the western political categories, overturning the centrality of visibility as the main axis of the political.