Download A Foucault Primer: Discourse, Power and the Subject by Alec McHoul, Wendy Grace PDF

March 28, 2017 | Political Theory | By admin | 0 Comments

By Alec McHoul, Wendy Grace

Who're we at the present time? That deceptively uncomplicated query persevered to be requested via the French historian and thinker, Michel Foucault, who for the final 3 a long time has had a profound impact on English-speaking students within the humanities and social sciences.; this article is designed for undergraduates and others who think wanting a few assistance whilst coming to grips with Foucault's voluminous and complicated writings. rather than facing them chronologically, notwithstanding, this publication concentrates on a few of their significant suggestions, basically Foucault's rethinking of the types of "discourse", "power", and " the subject".; Foucault's writings give a contribution jointly to what he himself calls "an ontology of the present". His ancient study used to be continually geared in the direction of displaying how issues might have been and nonetheless will be another way. this can be particularly the case with admire to the construction of human subjects.


“A continually transparent, finished and available advent which conscientiously sifts Foucault’s paintings for either its strengths and weaknesses. McHoul and beauty express an intimate familiarity with Foucault's writings and a full of life, yet severe engagement with the relevance of his paintings. A version primer.”
-Tony Bennett,author of outdoor Literature

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Extra info for A Foucault Primer: Discourse, Power and the Subject

Sample text

Foucault tried to trace these complex comings-together and departures in The Order of Things (1970). Sometimes he treats the discourses separately; at other times he looks at their contribution to the possibility of each period having an overall view of the world (which he calls the Western episteme’). For example, he finds that, in the sixteenth century, the ‘table’ of the human sciences had no concepts of life and labour at all. Nor was language thought of as a signifying system or ‘medium’: it was simply there as ‘one of the figurations of the world’ (1970:56), a natural device like air and water.

And Foucault’s term for the field of ‘what can be said’ is, not surprisingly, ‘discourse’. In the next chapter, we take a more detailed look at that concept as Foucault formulated it in the works up to and including The Archaeology of Knowledge. 25 2 Discourse T o look at how Foucault used the concept of discourse, we turn to those conceptual and methodological reflections on the historical ‘discourse analyses’ he had performed in his earlier works (1967, 1973), and especially the analyses in The Order of Things (1970).

Power is both reflexive, then, and impersonal. It acts in a relatively autonomous way and produces subjects just as much as, or even more than, subjects reproduce it. The point is not to ignore the subject or to deny its existence (as is the case with some forms of structuralism) but rather to examine subjection, the processes of the construction of subjects in and as a collection of techniques or flows of power which run through the whole of a particular social body. We can therefore refer to a terrain of power which, for Foucault, is not to be taken as merely ‘ideological’ in the weak sense, where that term refers to any aspect of individual or collective consciousness.

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