Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blogging as Parrhesia

I have not been writing as often as I would like.  Partly because I am a new father, partly because I don't know what I will say, and partly because I have a new job.

Today I was looking at my "stats" to see who is reading my blog despite the dearth of recent content, and I came accross this link to my blog,, which asks the question, "can personal blogging rightly be called parrhesia?"

He starts the post by stating that Foucault's belief was that parrhesia involved some level of danger.  At the end of the post, the author, Peter Fletcher, writes:

I think to answer this question we would need to consider Foucault’s broader project of an analysis of the interplay between power and subjectivity. Danger is sensed through the internalisation of the gaze of power and therefore, even a potential audience, brings about the creation of a subject position.

I argue then that blogging can be called parrhesia so long as it is a speaking of truth that involves a level of known or unknown danger.

Audience is a huge struggle for me.  Even as I write this, I think, "Who will read this?"  But danger is always involved.  This "internalisation of the gaze of power" is very real to me; it is a risk to write anything.  But what am I risking really?  What level of danger is enough to characterize speech as parrhesiastic?  And what if the danger is largely imagined? 

But I think this leads us in the wrong direction. Speaking the truth is inherently dangerous because to speak the truth is to expose oneself, to make oneself vulnerable.   

Then, am I a parrhesiastes?  It seems arrogant to characterize oneself as a truth-teller.  I strive to be truthful on my blog and in my dealings with others.  So, in the end, I would say that the title of my blog, parrhesia, is aspirational.