Foucault and Fanon represent their work and ideas concerning power in different ways,
according to the time and error they were present. Foucault, in his work and opinion, challenges
and outlines the concept that power is wielded by people under acts and sovereignty domination.
According to Foucault, the understanding of power depends on knowledge and the utilization of
that knowledge. However, he believed that power shapes and reproduced experience. Therefore,
his theories address the relationship between education and power, and their use as societal
institutions social control. Fanon's opinion was a political radical, a Pan-Africanist who was
concerned with the psychopathology of colonization, and the consequences of decolonization.
His leading theory was in decolonization struggles occurrence after world war two, where he
engaged wholeheartedly in the independence struggle. Therefore, this paper will outline and
focus on Foucault's and Fanon's accounts of power.
Michael Foucault was a French postmodernist who was influential in determining the
indulgences of power and contributed significantly to analyzing actors who used power as an
instrument of coercion. And as a way to restrain the used and utilized structures that were
operated by the actors on the idea of power exists everywhere (Foucault 3-69). Foucault's work
indicated the first exit from previous methods of apprehending power and cannot be easily
integrated with prior ideas since power is somewhat diffused than being concentrated. More so,
according to Foucault, power is not possessed but enacted, it is not discursive, but coercive
purely. Therefore, he challenges the idea that people in sovereignty can wield power (Foucault 3-
69). And since power comes and exists everywhere, he argues that it should not be either agency
or structure. Hence, skill and knowledge indicate and signifies that force is instituted through
truth, scientific understanding, and accepted knowledge forms.
Frantz Fanon, unlike Foucault who focused on power and knowledge; he supported
decolonization and struggles for independence, of the Algerian people from French colonialism.
His artwork focuses on human impulse in freedom (Fanon 20-80). He focuses and puts attention
towards Hybridity and creolization, and how they impact the lives of Africana, in the formation
of anti-colonial and humanist, with Hybridity termed and seen as opposition to counter-
hegemonic colonial practices. Fanon inspired and brought the understanding and moral
imagination upon those who practiced and fought for social justice to the oppressed and
marginalized (Fanon 20-80). Therefore, he articulates the need and exploits efforts in articulating
an anti-racist humanism that adheres to neither integration of conventional white-supremacist nor
advancing of philosophies of superiority towards the blacks in his work Black Skin White
Masks. Primarily, his work focused on the oppression and domination of colonized people, to the
call of undertaken understanding of humanity, upon subject positions.
Therefore, Fanon remained in France and learned psychiatry after the war. He
encountered impenetrable unsophisticated anti-black racism (Fanon 20-50). However, Fanon's
position strong emphasis on the role played by violence, on the colonial aspect, has brought and
provided justifications in his interpretation (Fanon 20-50). He anticipated number and position of
contemporary recognition, indicating that social change is not an automatic response towards
liberal conscious. However, he says that it is a challenge to achieve change, especially for a
person who is directly engaged in the struggle for the transformation of colonialism and racism.
Fanon describes the instance and accounts he experienced, into the world of the whites. He says
that the gaze he was given nearly crushed him. This makes him develop a historical racial
schema, an over-inclusive corporeal schema (Fanon 20-50). He uses the schemata to explain and
show the maintenance of creation. His ideology is criticized, whereby, through his story about
his own experience on racism, he reveals how black people perceive in a racialized context of the
According to Foucault, power is an excellent source of conformity and social discipline.
He points out a new option of disciplinary power while shifting attention aside, apart from the
sovereign and power exercise centered in the feudal states (Foucault 135-228). The energy was
observed in the directorial systems and social services that were created in the 18th century in
prisons and mental hospitals. Primarily Foucault was fascinated and perplexed with the method
and mechanism utilized by prison surveillance, in administration and control of populations, and
bodily conduct promotions norms. He studied the role of medicine, psychology, and
criminology, as figures of knowledge, which defines forms of behaviors and aberration (Foucault
135-228). A vital point concerning Foucault's method to supremacy approach is that it surpasses
polities and perceives power as a daily embodied occurrence phenomenon, a reason that leads to
state-centric struggles of power.
The concept of power from Foucault is primarily removed from agencies due to its
elusiveness, which appears to be space for practical action (Foucault 3-69). More so, he believes
in resistance and action possibility, whereby he gave sense about power and concluded that, to
some extent, power inheres across institutions only, rather than in characters that build the
organizations themselves. He discovers the method and model of creation of the recent
disciplines, and their ideologies in guiding and controlling, and how they disindividualize power
making process, where it seems to inhere in prisons (Foucault 3-69). Primarily, Panopticon
became the model he outlines basing on how and what other institutions function. Panopticon is
a convenient mechanism of automating and disindividualizing power since, according to him,
power has entailed and holds its principles not much personal, but concerted and distributed
The introduction of Black Skin, White Masks by Fanon, entails essential connections and
conclusion foundations analysis pieces put together by Fanon in declaring that, the blacks are
locked in their blackness. Simultaneously, the whites are too sealed in their whiteness world,
indicating that the two groups are not in good terms (Fanon 20-80). Moreover, Fanon offers a
relational sketch between the structures in ontology and sociology, which suggests that the latter
leaves subjectivist into their racial categories. Focusing on the issue of language, sexuality, and
dialects, Fanon introduces the critical concept of the zone of the non-being as "hell." From the
corresponding war of the blacks in fighting the anti-black world conditions that suppressed and
violated them (Fanon 20-80). However, the world of the non-blacks hides the non-being
character to the point that it attributes role and place to object blackness. Primarily, in the zone of
non-beings, Fanon does not define good outcomes in this zone. Instead, he meets a subjectivity
vision that vibrates to intergalactic harmonies.
The Africana phenomenology perception by Fanon indicates and explores the various
challenges faced by the blacks during the social world inhabited by the whites, where they
experienced and received explicit treatment. The great concern is that blacks have to wear white
masks to survive amid the whites (Fanon 20-80). However, the range at which the black
responds to shared humanity ranges across the cultural spectrum. He examined the way race
deformed people's lives in the French Caribbean and the conflict of colonialism in Africa.
Therefore, according to Fanon, racism, and colonialism bestowed and practiced by white
European culture leads to violence and trauma, which brings negligence. The aspects of
negligence promote and cause negative attitudes towards the majority of the blacks and Africa in
general (Fanon 20-80). More so, it regulates desire attitudes, thus presenting itself as an
encompassing way of inhabiting a world with no alternatives.
Power sovereign is articulated by Foucault, under the aspect of disciplinary power. He
constructs and indicates his signature on the definite style of inquiry to the actual mechanism of
control (Foucault 135-228). Primarily, discipline power, based on Foucault's historical and
philosophical analyses, educates people on how to enact through persuading them to change
themselves to normal. However, the power of discipline does not assault the subject at whom it is
directed, in the form like sovereignty. Instead, training works more delicately with the utmost
care to produce obedient people, whom he regarded as docile subjects. For instance, a good
indication of disciplinary power is through the prison (Foucault 135-228). In the current world,
Foucault believed that jail was the most ubiquitous institution, best for punishment, but not a
method of forcefully locking up the criminals. It is a sovereign element that continues in existing
prisons, which is different from the most antiquated systems of sovereign power that promote
violence to criminals, slaves, and captives.
Foucault argued that prison complexity is costly in the modernity with relatively standard
techniques of death and torture. However, he says that people started becoming benevolent in the
18th century. Primarily, he thought that a fundamental miss would follow power change upon the
spectacles of torture towards prisons (Foucault 135-228). Moreover, Foucault indicated that the
model in which the prisons operated, including their mechanism, is designed not to restrict
criminals, but to submit them into training that will make them docile. The prisons are termed as
not being confinement houses, but correction units. More so, the institutions should not be
termed as prison cells cage (Foucault 135-228). Instead, a followed routine that administers daily
lives to the prisoners. Since what governs them is the inspections carried out in the morning, and
According to Fanon, decolonization is a negrification on political dimensions, within
which the blacks are not seen nor considered human (Fanon 20-80). He fights and advocates for
equal treatment of people regardless of their race, and have human dignity that is recognized by
others, without discrimination. Primarily Fanon focuses and draws together the presence and
existence of experienced racialized subjects, and the logic of colonial rule that is calculative
(Fanon 20-80). Therefore, colonialism to Fanon is a project that sticks in the eternity of human
person and with untouched reality. Furthermore, upon language replication, colonialism and
racism start with a considerable prerogative that, in language speaking, leads to civilization's
adoption and participation in the world. Primarily, if speaking language means involvement in
the world and civilization adoption, then an imposed colonial domination language and objection
in various expressive forms speak on the colonizer world.
In conclusion, the arguments of Foucault and Fanon differ in various ways, since
Foucault in his work, indicates that power is everywhere. He also focuses on discipline and
capability in line with prison, where he articulates jail as an area of reform rather than a place of
torture and holding criminals. However, Fanon focuses on racism and colonialism faced by the
blacks, where they are forced to wear white masks to survive to the white's dominated society,
though with significant challenges.
Foucault, Michel. "Panopticism" from" Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the
Prison." Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts 2.1 (2008): 1-12.
Fanon, Frantz. Black skin, white masks. London: Paladin, 1970.