Foucault has been criticized for not having an emancipatory interest in that his philosophy does not have the ability to distinguish between domination and resistance. I would like to defend Foucault on this charge. I would like to do this by setting up two divisions 'domination vs resistance' and 'power vs resistance'. Here domination and power are not to be considered synonymous, and neither should the term 'resistance' be considered to mean or refer to the same thing in both divisions.

I will begin by outlining what is meant by power and resistance. Power is not hierarchial nor is it negative. Power is productive and acts from everywhere. Power relations are not agent driven, although they have calculated strategies. Power produces and acts through the agents as nodes in a network of power relations. Foucault also claims that where there is power there is resistance. However 'resistance is never in a position of exteriority to power'. These forms of resistance are particular to the points of power. Neither is resistance to be understood as a reactive force in of itself nor as a sedentary object. Resistance is not a wall that power runs up against. I think that resistance should not be understood as a force, 'as a force of resistance', there are only 'forces of resistance to' something. However I think forces of resistance are never forces of resistance to power (itself as a monolithic force) but resistance to a particular strategy of power. I think forces of resistance are themselves strategies of power. Resistance is not a force external to power, but a point in the network of power relations where one strategy of power acts against another (not necessarily its opposite). There can be no power without resistance because power is never latent (unless latency is a strategic reserving of power, thus an act of power itself). For power to be power it must enact itself against something. But this something is not resistance, but another power. Resistance is rather the arena wherein the contest of powers takes place. Power only exists insofar as it enters this contest against another power (for simplicity's sake I am speaking of one against another, but the number of different powers and strategies that act on and against each other at a specific site is particular to the site itself). Thus power is never set against resistance but against another power which in its resistance to the former power brings them both into existance as power simultaneously, and simultaneously enacts resistance itself. Power is always resisted, but not by something we could call resistance. So the phrase that I used above of 'power vs. resistance' is in itself inaccurate.

Seen in this light Domination and resistance are distinct as strategies of power. Domination is a strategy of power that attempts to eliminate resistance, both in terms of resistance to domination, and resistance as the contest of powers. Resistance (as the resistance that is meant in 'domination vs. resistance' as opposed to 'power vs. resistance') is a separate entity unto itself and where there is domination, or the will of power to domination, there does not necessarily imply resistance. Power necessarily implies resistance, but resistance to domination is contingent. Domination is the strategy of annihilation of other powers, and of the very site of resistance. Drawing from Nietzsche here, domination is power's 'will to death', for in the annihilation of other powers, the dominating power wills its own suicide as power. The particular resistance to a strategy of domination is a strategy of power aimed at resisting the strategy of power called 'domination'. Domination in essence, freezes up the circulation of power that allows power to be. It is power that take itself as necessary and others as contingent to it and accidental.

If Foucault favours resistance to power, it is not because power is 'bad' or 'evil' but that to turn to a hierarchy of powers immediately leads to domination and as a result to destroy power itself. In priviliging resistance (in relation to power) it is for the sake of power, and to keep alive the acting of power by allowing for the space whereby powers might actualize themselves by agonistically contesting against one another. In priviliging resistance he is not setting himself against power, but setting himself against the ultimate victory of a single power, whereby resistance would be eradicated. This favouring of resistance over power in this sense leads Foucault to favour also resistance as set against domination. In fact one resists domination by positing the value of resistance over and above the value of a single power. Even in resistance to domination it is not that the forces that resist domination should be considered the 'one' or 'absolute' value, but are valuable as an ostracism, whereby if one power turns towards domination it is removed in order to preserve the contest.

The emancipatory interest in Foucault is to favour resistance (as the site in which powers actualize themselves) in order to emancipate powers from domination. Emancipation is not the emancipation from power but the emancipation of power. To summarize, resistance to domination (as a strategy of power) is in the preservation of resistance as the site of powers. It is the value of the contest and the contestants over the single contestant that is important to Foucault.