The Gregorian Reform, Pastoral Power, and Subjection

  • Suzanne Verderber
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In Nietzsche’s parable of subjection, the subject is produced through the application of an outside force, “priestly” or pastoral power, which aims to provoke accountability and the internalization of bad conscience. External force produces the accountable, interiorized subject. In the present argument, it is assumed that even in the absence of any activity of folding or subjectivation, the subject is produced within a decentered nexus of power, knowledge, and language. Pastoral power represents one potential form of power that provokes the “internalization” of bad conscience and the attendant fiction of the subject. This Nietzschean parable of subjection is applicable to the phenomenon of individuation in the twelfth century, with the problem that it lacks all historical contextualization and all specificity as to the traits of pastoral power, including its use of confession as a technique.


Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Eleventh Century Sovereign Power Bare Life 
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© Suzanne Verderber 2013

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  • Suzanne Verderber

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