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A Foucauldian, Non-Intentionalist Analysis of Modern Javanese Ethics

Abstract : This article analyses some major works of poetry produced by and for the Javanese nobility, the priyayi. It attempts to show that an interpretation of ways of life is conditional upon first successfully circumscribing a specific scope of subjectivation, while at the same time avoiding two pitfalls: utilitarianism and culturalism. The hypothesis is that the codification by the priyayi of what they thought to be the “right Javanese way” of doing things was simultaneously the product and the language of conflicts of power and prestige, which opposed them to other social groups (notably princes and merchants). In other words, in response to Foucault's constant preoccupation with “eventalising” the story of the way in which discourses on moral rules were constituted, the priyayi's view of the self is related to a historically determined situation of social struggle. Finally, the conclusion reflects upon the possibility of escaping from an instrumentalist conception of power in the scope of the historical sociology of politics.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:03:34 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:42:04 AM

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Romain Bertrand. A Foucauldian, Non-Intentionalist Analysis of Modern Javanese Ethics. International Social Science Journal, Wiley, 2008, 59 (191), pp.75 - 93. ⟨hal-03415825⟩

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