Ah, holiday. A word so blissful yet so surreal when we're a university student. Yes, the classes might be off, the exams might be on halt, but trails of those somehow would still get to you eventually. No, I'm not talking about the upcoming new semester coming just next week in my campus (yeek! I freak out whenever I think about having to snooze through my blasting alarms that I set to go off every five minutes the night before on daily basis, AGAIN). I'm talking about the campus business—y'know, writing some stuffs about things that you actually like and might enjoy but you just can't because you're being forced to (that's an important keyword there, forced)...
...and that's what I actually went through these last three days.
One of my beloved lecturer that I couldn't stop admiring, Mrs. Kandi, gave my best friend, Steffi, and I a project to help her with her research mainly about power relations between the state and LGBT community as a subculture in Indonesia. The main samples came from Facebook statuses of Indonesians, the pro-LGBT and the con-LGBT, that contained some keywords, like 'LGBT', 'homo', and such; then we analyze the samples with relevant theories. Me, being the one who got the responsibility to analyze it more about the power relations going on between those two mentioned above, had to seek for references related to it.
When you heard about the term 'power relations', what was the thing that first came to your mind? If you ask me, personally I'd describe it as the division of power between the oppressor and the oppressed at first. In some way, that might be correct; but turned out it wasn't so simple according to some eyeglasses wearing, preppy looking philosopher.
It is Michel Foucault, a France born and raised philosopher and social theorist well-known for his postmodernist view. Several of his most famous works include Discipline and Punish, Power/Knowledge, The Order of Things, Madness of Civilization, The Archaeology of Knowledge, and The History of Sexuality.
I myself had a fascination for Foucault when I started to learn about critical theories in university—along with the head-start of my burning intellectual infatuation towards Jacques Derrida, a philosopher too but mostly known for his contribution to post-structural and deconstruction (I'm so big on post-structural *insert heart emoji here*). My lecturers often mentioned Foucault in class and brought up some of his theories when they were giving examples of analytical framework to view and analyze one problem or another. They also relentlessly kept reminding the whole class to look him and his ideas up and learn more about them. And so eventually I couldn't keep my hands off my phone to type his name on Google Search after numerous occasion of my lecturers telling me to do so.
And boy did I regret my decision not to do that earlier.
Because really, his works are magnificent—very thought-provoking, completely mind-blowing. It is truly a vitamin to the brain, an academically euphoric material to satiate your thirsts for knowledge; it never cease to leave me thinking and analyzing and wanting for more—a masterpiece in the form of texts on the sheets of paper. Definitely a pinnacle of theory craftsmanship in the 20th century.
The professor in my department once said something about 'text orgasm', in which when your brain felt such an ecstatic sensation after you read cerebral stimulating texts... and I think I just done had that.
Man, I love doing this.