Foucault and Marx influence our thinking of power, through (1)classification and structure. While they both had at times expressed conflicting points of view, many of these conflicts converged in society, whereby creating a cohesive fusion that often are distinctive only by the origination of these authorities on Power. We will examine them through several extremely integrated tools of Power and emerge with a hybridized conclusion. We as a society, have become so embedded with these philosophies and tools of the use of Power and therefore no longer clearly differentiate the two as separate causes and effects but examine them as a whole in the fabric of society.


Foucault, observed that modern power, is a form of internalized surveillance to produce a person who is docile and therefore disciplinary .With disciplinary power, everyone disciplines themselves and this is related to bio power which is the states’ involvement with the biological well-being of the population that includes prevention and control of disease, adequate supplies of food and water, housing and education. Bio power, is a link between the control of people and the development of capitalism.

In the analysis, power states and self -regulation appear not to be the centres’ of power but instruments of modern power concepts. Classifying and dividing practices are also disciplinary practices.  They are aimed at individuals, specific populations, and the entire social order where new technologies were developed for treating individuals and populations, which cannot be understood or explained in Marxist terms.


Marxist models of productive powers, explains the formation and transformation of society in terms of conflict between the relations of production and class struggle. Both Foucault and Marx identify an agent provocateur but disagree in its effect and consequences. This involves a belief in a global struggle and the overthrowing of capitalism to create change versus allowing the will of the people to create a more realistic change in society, that favours capitalism but through bio-power.


For Marx power is originating from a clearly identifiable source, power is a top-down forum, concentrating power at the top echelon of society to erode the capacity for spontaneous action and dehumanize and imprison the rest of humanity on the lower end of spectrum. Therefore maintaining that the superstructure had only a ‘relative autonomy’, and the theory of ‘relative autonomy’, as a shorthand designation of the base–superstructure relation, became a central concept of twentieth-century Marxism

            Foucault argues that power works through people and not just on them. There is no clear source of power in Foucault’s view as power relations circulate in all sites and levels of social life. Additionally, for Marx power is restrictive, whereas for Foucault power is both productive and restrictive.


Finally, the two views are not actually mutually exclusive. Marx saw power as strongly related to economic resources and the means of production, whereas Foucault saw it in terms of everyday social interactions, with the balance of power shifting from one group or individual to another, depending on the circumstances. The market is the ultimate authority governing economic and social life. Whereby efficiency, productivity and growth occurs through free markets to reduce government regulation Economic rationality extends throughout society forming, a new “common sense”.

Michel Foucault born Paul-Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984), was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas. He held a chair at the Collège de France with the title “History of Systems of Thought.”  Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison system, as well as for his work on the history of human sexuality. His writings on power, knowledge, and discourse have been widely influential in academic circles. Foucault was listed as the most cited scholar in the humanities in 2007.

Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Marxism, hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle. He was critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, believing it would be replacement by a new system, socialism. Under socialism, he argued that society would be governed by the working class in what he called the “dictatorship of the proletariat“, He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called pure communism.


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