Week 9: Power and Resistance
I must admit, I had a hard time fully comprehending Foucault’s “The Subject and Power” article even after reading it three times. Additionally, even after watching Office Space, Foucault’s article is still a bit abstract to me, so I am going to focus on the insights from his article that I believe I tangibly understand in my writing for this week.
As many of classmates have pointed out, Office Space focuses significantly on power and resistance, and while I agree with this conclusion, I believe I see a transference of power and resistance play out in the movie that my classmates have not yet discussed in their writings.
For example, in the beginning of Office Space vice president Bill Lumbergh wields authoritative power over his employees (subjects) Peter, Samir, Michael, and Milton who passive-aggressively resist him. Observing this in the movie, led me to wonder what Foucault would say about different types of power and resistance.
I ask this because, I feel Foucault does not address this idea in his article, and I believe to fully understand power through understanding resistance, Foucault should. I mean, resistance is not always direct, sometimes its indirect, sometimes its covert, and the same goes for power. Power is not always direct, sometimes its indirect, otherwise known as, as leading by influence. Because each of these variations would impact humans (subjects) differently, I think it should be examined more fully by Foucault.
As for later in Office Space, it is interesting, at least to me, to see a shift in power and resistance occur between Peter and Bill, one because of the therapy session and two because of the consultant’s favorable opinion of Peter.
As we saw in the movie, after the therapy session Peter experiences a Zen attitude regarding work and life, which resulted in him not going into work on the weekend and taking an additional day off. As I thought about this, without weighting the consultant’s influence, it led to wonder, did Bill ever have real power over Peter? Did Peter (do I) grant power to those that organizations and/or society state should have it because it has become customary?
And when the consultants, Bob and Bob, provide Peter with a favorable review, I believe this shifts the paradigm of power and resistance more fully between Peter and Bill. As we saw, when Bill tries to offer an opinion of Peter contrary to Bob and Bob’s opinion, it causes some ripples for Bill, so now Peter contains the power and Bill is resistant to this change in status.
While I may not fully understand Foucault’s article, I am able to see power and resistance play out in Office Space, and recognize that these two dynamics play out in organizations across the world, in our family units, governments, etc. Additionally, power and resistance are not static, in my opinion, but instead are constantly influx within these entities.
And finally, I am still left wondering is power real? I mean, our democracy has power, because we the people believe it should, but what if this belief changed? I guess, this is something I am going to have to think on, as I am still not a 100% certain. Do any of you have thoughts on this?