By Alec McHoul, Wendy Grace

ISBN-10: 0203501128

ISBN-13: 9780203501122

Who're we this day? That deceptively easy 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 effect on English-speaking students within the humanities and social sciences.; this article is designed for undergraduates and others who believe wanting a few advice whilst coming to grips with Foucault's voluminous and intricate writings. rather than facing them chronologically, besides the fact that, this publication concentrates on a few of their significant recommendations, 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 historic study was once constantly geared in the direction of exhibiting how issues might have been and nonetheless may be differently. this can be specially the case with appreciate to the construction of human subjects.


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

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

Example text

However, if discourses don’t merely represent ‘the real’, and if in fact they are part of its production, then which discourse is ‘best’ can’t be decided by comparing it with any real object. The ‘real’ object simply isn’t available for comparison outside its discursive construction. Instead discourses (forms of representation) might be tested in terms of how they can actually intervene in local struggles. Examples of this kind of highly interventional critical discourse analysis can be found in the work of the anthropologist Michaels (1987) and the co-productions of Australian Aborigines with discourse analysts (Benterrak, Muecke and Roe, 1984).

On the other hand, he is on record as supporting a resuscitation of subjugated knowledges: By subjugated knowledges I mean two things: on the one hand, I am referring to the historical contents that have been buried and disguised in a functionalist coherence or formal systematisation… Subjugated knowledges are thus those blocs of historical knowledge which were present but disguised… and which criticism—which obviously draws on scholarship— has been able to reveal. On the other hand, I believe that by subjugated knowledges one should understand something else …a whole set of knowledges that have been disqualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity… It is through the reappearance of this knowledge, of these local popular knowledges, these disqualified knowledges, that criticism performs its work.

Discourse moves in, and as, the flows of power. Discourses—for example scientific discourses—never move outside the limits of power so as to be able to ‘purely analyse’ it. The structuralists’ notion that ‘ordinary’ language always needs to be supplemented by an analysis of its ‘truer’ and ‘deeper’ meaning is effectively annulled. It is no longer possible to see discourses as ‘surface’ phenomena underpinned by a more ‘real’, but hidden, structure. Discourse can no longer be seen to be harmless, to have a mythically ‘original’ state.

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

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