Relationship Between Szasz And Foucault

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Is the Madman Powerless?
A critique of Szasz and Foucault

‘The doctor’s gaze’, as Michel Foucault famously coined it in The Birth of the Clinic, ‘is not faithful to truth, nor subject to it, without asserting, at the same time, a supreme mastery: the gaze that sees is a gaze that dominates’ (Foucault, 1963: 39). This medical imagery is powerful in delineating the power relationship between a respected, knowledgeable physician and a decrepit, mentally defected patient, more so when the physician, as Szasz wrote (Szasz, 1974: 268), imposes psychiatric treatment to the madman. Conscious that Foucault’s and Szasz’s concerns are reason enough why patient advocates movements gathered strength in the 1970s in the US, this paper will interrogate whether their assertions hold. In the following, I will redefine the term of ‘madness’ and with reference to varied notions and aspects of ‘power’ present a problematique of Foucault’s and Szasz’s implications that the madman
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Thomas Wartenberg’s analysis that power is employed in a complex network of mutual interaction also helped elucidate more on Foucault’s conception of dynamic power. ‘A situated power relationship between [the performances of] two social agents is thus constituted by the presence of peripheral social agents in the form of a social alignment. A field of social agents can constitute an alignment in regard to [the performances of] a social agent if and only if, first of all, their actions in regard to that agent are coordinated. . . comprehensive[ly] enough that the social agent facing the alignment encounters that alignment as having control over certain things that she might either need or desire’ (Wartenberg,
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