In order to understand whether criminology can speak truth to power, it is essential to first understand the concept of truth and knowledge and these will be elaborated in detail through Foucault’s ideas. Thereafter, it is essential to look into the concept of power. However, because power can be depicted through various forms, the essay will focus on the government. An analysis of cultural criminology is also essential in understanding the question and finally, all the latter aspects will be brought together to examine whether criminology can speak truth to power. Analysis of truth and power
A number of criminologists have looked into the issue of truth but some of the most prominent ones include Michael Foucault and Walters. Foucault finds a way of relating truth and freedom in a different light. (Hamm, 1995, pp 200) He claims that one ought not to look at truth in terms of adherence to law alone. Instead, he claims that truth is an individual concept rather than one that is tied to moral codes of any nature. In this regard, it can be asserted that moral order and ethics are different because the latter is concerned with objectivity within moral order.
According to this order, truth should not just be regarded as a characteristic that is only confined to a certain aspect of freedom; these two are disconnected. Instead, Foucault proposes that truth can be confirmed by certain levels of truth. On the other hand, power may be defined as an individual or entity’s ability to control and influence the environment around them. Power can be seen as something that is either just or unjust; however, whatever the case may be, power is a concept that is synonymous to the human being.
Many philosophers have argued that power is the measure of how human beings have been enabled to make their actions possible. In other words, power represents the go between enablement and constraint. Power is something that can be manifested only when examined in the form of a relationship. Power requires more than one party for manifestation. Consequently, the concept entails an in depth understanding of what the roles of other members within the social relationships really are. (Lasn, 2000, pp 56) It should be noted that power is something that is quite relative.
In certain instances, it may be stable while in others it may be unstable. Additionally, power can be understood in terms of the levels of constraint exercised by the parties within that social relationship. For power to exist, then one of the parties must be a in a position where they have chosen to constrain their respective powers. Power can be understood in terms of a number of theories. For instance, according to feminists, women need to be given equal opportunities in the social, political and economic spheres in their lives.
This equality in opportunities can only be possible when both sexes are granted power over their lives. Another common theory that discusses matters surrounding power is the Marxist school of thought. According to these proponents, holders of capital have the ability to control and influence members of the working class consequently, this category has power. (Regis, 2003, pp 36) In the Game theory, power is imagined to be something that individuals can either use to their advantage or their disadvantage depending on how they opt to influence others.
Additionally in the rational choice theory, power is thought of as something that needs to be acquired by certain social actors so that they can achieve their goals and aspirations. (Redhead, 1993, pp 13) In the field of criminology, power is regarded as something that can best be understood through a number of philosophers. According to Michael Foucault, power is an aspect that is exercised without enforcement; instead, it is something that causes people to behave in a certain manner through their own initiative.
In other words, a sales representative who manages to convince a buyer to purchase a product willingly is exercising power because he or she has interfered with the action of another. On the other hand, this author also asserted that power is something that may be regarded as the overall nature of these respective issues without necessarily placing them in context. Through this author’s assertions, it is possible for one to understand some of the underlying issues that cause manifestation of power.
According to him, knowledge and truth were necessary in placing power within context. He believed that members of certain societies have created certain belief systems that are actually associated with right and wrong. When an individual behaves in a manner that contradicts some of these belief systems, then they oppose these power relations and may eventually them. Consequently, this philosopher argues that power should not be analysed in terms of who has it or who does not, instead, it should dwell on the issue of the subjects that are under analysis.