So I’m reading about subject creation today putting together some words for my thesis and it struck me the efforts fundamentalist religions go to ensure adherence from their followers. Mark Poster says that a post-structuralist understanding of the subject is that the subject is never fixed or fully sutured. Of course the working of power is to attempt to do the opposite – to fix a subject position to the maximum extent possible. And that’s precisely what religions attempt to do by creating rules for every conceivable situation in an attempt to close off a subject position at as many points of resistance as possible. Sex, diet, behaviour all become moments for the circumscription of the boundaries of the form expected of a subject position. It’s all fascinating stuff when it comes to the textaul analysis dooce. Heather Armstrong grew up as a Mormon.
And it’s something I’m particularly interested in being I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. From a very early age I was told about the evils of drugs, pre-marital sex, masturbation, blood, you name it there was a rule to be followed, something to do or to avoid doing. And the more a person self-identifies as a JW the more the form of their subject position is developed. As Poster recognises, the working of power is to position the subject so that power acts on them before they are aware of their position infuenceb by power. Which is precisely the project of the JW’s. With the seemingly innocent bible studies that work a person into a position as an object of the power of the church and with teaching children bible “truths” before the child has developed a sense of critical and rational thinking these efforts produce individuals as objects of power.
As you can imagine, I can’t say too many (read nothing) favourable about the working of power within these religions. They’re little more than a machinery of control and manipulation.