Modalities of power


Narratives are crucial discursive tools through which power operates both in its positive and negative manifestations and expressions. Moreover, narratives are effects of power/knowledge relations, but are also sites for the emergence of new discourses. Finally, narratives are discursive practices or technologies through which human beings make sense of themselves in relation to others and to the world. Within the Foucauldian framework then, narratives are theorised as a discursive regime wherein the self is being constituted through practices of objectification and subjectification, technologies of power and technologies of the self. It is thus within the tripartite schema of truth, power and the subject that I have problematized narratives in my overall project of writing feminist genealogies. Some of the questions I have raised include:


  • who speaks or writes?
  • vwhich kinds of practices, linked to which kinds of external conditions determine the discursive production of the narratives under investigation
  • how does power intervene in creating conditions of possibility for specific narratives to emerge as dominant and for others to be marginalized
  • In addressing these questions, I have deployed 3 methodological moves:
  • deconstructing narrative content
  • unsettling narrative forms
  • mapping narrative contexts



Please reference as: Maria Tamboukou (2018) ‘Modalities of power’