Banal Documentaries
Chomsky Film
Domain of Demands
Emporer Penguin Evolution
Lottery Life
Peace School

Personality & Classification
Police Interrogations
Press Ethics
Stun Guns
Suicide Bombers
Target Civilians
The Criminal/The Military
Time Memory
Ways of Life
A Good One of Those


I can’t say I remember the precise moment I encountered the term valorization in reading Foucault, but there is no doubt I didn’t get it. To me valor meant bravery and that was that. But when it opened up, it did so in a big way. It is one thing to say groups express preferences, but to note their expression deep in language and practices not obviously constructed for the purpose, systematizes the otherwise random and trivial. Ergo: systems of valorization.

The insight expanded and became personal as I grasped its application to the order connecting events and feelings about them. The connection is made by local conceptions of appropriateness, and conformity to these conceptions determines the viability of ones place in the community. Camus opens THE STRANGER with the man’s confession of doubt as to whether his mother died today or yesterday, and with this confession we know straight off this is not a regular sort of chap.

But it is in the nature of communities to treat these connections as natural
and therefore nonnegotiable. Opening, in this place, an interrogation of the system of valorization that established these connections seems quite plainly, an act of great insurrection.

















©Al Katz • Prof. of law SUNY, Buffalo, 1969-1989 (ret.)