by Yoshiyuki Sato
Proposes a provocative reinterpretation of poststructuralist theory of power
The "structuralist" theories of power show that the subject is produced and reproduced by the investment of power: but how then can we then think of the subject's resistance to power? Based on this fundamental question, Power and Resistance interprets critically the (post-)structuralist theory of power and resistance, i.e., the theories of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Derrida and Althusser.
It analyses also the mechanism of power and the strategies of resistance in the era of neoliberalism. This meticulous analysis that completely renewed the theory of power is already published in French, Japanese, and Korean with success.
"Sato has taken on the impressive task of isolating, with analytical precision, the sources of resistance within generally conceived structuralist theory. His thesis offers a masterful and erudite reading of Foucault, Freud, Deleuze, Lacan, Derrida, and Althusser, among others. His explanation of a sample of texts by these authors is quite illuminating. Indeed, Sato succeeds in showing that the theory of the subject, if understood in its relation to a constitutive death drive, carries with it the possibility of resisting the cruelty of the law and providing the basis for a general theory of resistance. He further shows that structuralism should not be seen as a 'static' description of social and linguistic structures, and that what is needed is rather a diachronic view of structures that takes into account—without domesticating—the forces of contingency. Starting from the death drive and the contingency of structures, and through an argument that is as erudite as it is enlightening, Sato constructs an explanation of resistance in structuralism (but also for it and its future), thus reviving a debate that has unfortunately been bogged down for some time in clichés and misconceptions." — Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble
"Conceptually dense and philosophically masterful, Yoshiyuki Sato's Power and Resistance ranges widely across the work of Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, and Althusser (with Lacan as the 'silent partner' of the text), in pursuit of how the structuralist (non)dialectic of power and resistance comes to be underpinned by this aporetic subject that must be both the product of the social structure, yet also that which furnishes the force of resistance to its reproduction, demonstrating precisely that the 'thought of the subject' is nothing other than a theory of how the 'outside' relates to the interiority of the structure. Refusing the now-widespread reception of post-68 French thought as having 'done away with' the category of the subject, Sato shows ably and with real mastery of the literature, why we must instead consider these thinkers to be precisely 'theoreticians of the subject.' In our current conceptual conjuncture, this important book has reemerged in English after its French and Japanese editions to provide the thought of a transformation beyond that dialectic of subjection and resistance which merely reinforces the social closure, giving proof positive for the politicality and living force of this set of figures so crucial to twentieth century thought." — Gavin Walker, editor of The Red Years
About the Author:
Yoshiyuki Sato is associate professor at University of Tsukuba (Japan), and did his PhD in philosophy at University of Paris X Nanterre. His recent publications are: Philosophy of Abandoning Nuclear Power (in Japanese, coauthored with Takumi Taguchi), Three revolutions: Political Philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari (in Japanese, coauthored with Jun Fujita Hirose).