Spotting the primacy of resistance in the virtual encounter of foucault and Deleuze

Marco Checchi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Foucault's intuition that resistance comes first challenges the theses of the co-originality of power and resistance or the superiority of power over resistance. In order to transform this intuition into the concept of the primacy of resistance, the article uses Deleuze's ontology and in particular the idea of the virtual. According to Deleuze, resistance displays a privileged relation with the virtual, understood as the ontological region animated by all the potentialities that might be or might have been actualised. As such, resistance is presented as a creative and affirmative force, provoking reactions and forcing power to change. Nietzsche's divide between active and reactive forces serves to set up a qualitative distinction between resistance and power. Power relations are therefore understood as the interplay of the creative affirmation of resistance and the subsequent reaction of power. The primacy of resistance allows us to elaborate a dynamic model of power relations whose mechanism evokes Tronti's interpretation of Marxism structured upon the primacy of labour and workers' struggle over capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalFoucault Studies
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


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