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Foucault - Science topic

Discussing Foucault's analyses, methods and philosophy
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How important would you consider reading Foucault for critical thinking development, or any other author you consider relevant.
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A flawed individual, but his understanding and research on power are extremely enlightening.
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Can anyone help with some points of confusion around the fine line that is post-structuralism and social constructionism? I am trying to settle on a theoretical position relating to constructionist epistemological perspectives of voice hearer experiences without going off on a subjectivist ontological tangent. According to MIcheal Crotty subjectivism and constructionism are distinct in thier ontological explanations of reality but does this neccessarily have to lead to distinct methodological approaches? I am interest in exploring the social discourses surrounding lived experiences of mental illness so it seems logical to settle on discursive psychology or critical discourse as it considers the social context of such experiences. According to the mentioned author however, I could be confusing my ontologies ? Am I overthinking this?
Thoughts greatly appreciated!
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The borderline between both approaches is the role and range of human agency,
with respect to the interplay of physical reality and human psychology (perception is everything, reality is nothing refers more to the constructionist explanation model, while psychological perception is limited by physical reality refers more to structuralist view, post or not). In terms of ontology, constructionism focuses more on communication, structuralism is more centered around consequences of human inter-action. A cybernetic approach is able to integrate both positions or viewpoints, e.g. in the tradition of Hv Foerster (Understanding Understanding).
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The anti-establishment ethos of New Historicism wasprofoundly influenced by Foucault's theories of Power/Knowledge and Discourse. what does new historicism owe to foucault?
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The anti-establishment ethos of New Historicism was profoundly influenced by Foucault's theories of Power/Knowledge and Discourse. His primary concern has been with power's relationship to the discursive formations in society that make knowledge.
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Horkheimer and Adorno and Foucault see progress as a kind of trap in which we ensnare ourselves. Can this have any relation to the modern contradiction/condition? And if so, what have the postmodernists said about it?
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I think that's right in some sense. Modernism can be thought of in lots of ways; it's often marked by comminution, empty signification, and transcendence. What does "progress" really mean? From what to what? It's not always clear. The tendency in modernism to try to divide things into smaller and smaller parts in order to (for no clear reason) achieve some all-encompassing greater good seems irrational at best. It distracts from the real embodied forms of suffering and difficulty that one could more easily attend to by noticing the immanence of in-the-moment practices and relations.
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The relevence of Bourdieu and Foucault.
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Foucault is very relevant through the following referential writings: Naissance de la Clinique, 1963, English translation "The Birth of the Clinic. An Archaeology of Medical Perception", several editions; Histoire de la folie à l'âge Classique, 1972, English translation "Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason"; Histoire de la sexualité, 1976-1984, 3 vols, English translation "History of sexuality", several editions normally in 2 vols.
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I want to see how women’s performance of gender is shaped by neoliberalism, postfeminism and technology -- how dominant neoliberal and postfeminist discourses have informed doing femininity in online sexual economies (like Bumble and Tinder)
I am interested in Gill and Scharff (2011) characterization of the resonance between neoliberalism and postfeminism, and the extension of Foucault's idea of governmentally to understand how the pervasiveness of neoliberal ideas has potentially impacted gender logic for women
I am trying to find a way to operationalize this intersection with dating apps and was thinking of utilizing a scale for female users of dating apps that assess on neoliberal ideas?
Would appreciate any leads or feedback! Thanks so much!
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It looks like you are looking for a scale that would measure something which was originally steeped in relatively “qualitative“ terminology. I guess one way to do it would be to create a questionnaire that asks questions that somehow capture aspects of governmentality and adherence to neoliberal and postfemisist ideas (using a non-normati vocabulary) and distribute it in the population. Asking respondents to rate their experience/position on a lickert scale could be one way forward here.
The framing of the question makes me wonder if the easiest answer wouldn’t be to design a more qualitative study using discourse analysis of interview material. Foucault‘s theoretical framework gives itself really well to qualitative research and analyses of first or second hand data while (at least to me) appearing somewhat a challenge to operationalize in a quantitative setting.
I don’t know if I was able to provide you with any useful leads but I hope my answer can be of some help. All the best and good luck with your project.
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I am wondering whether there is any ontological and epistemological conflict of using Weber's 'social stratification' and Foucault's 'discipline and punish' to explore domination and control of wage labor. Can I use it in a study? Thank you.
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Of course it will be very interest work on this issue.
I am also interesting to read after complete.
Becouse Foucault's "Discipline and punish" there is can be use problem of personality and relationship with Weber's 'social stratification' . How can be resolvable the problem of obscurity on this issue. İs it within these both metod, can be found some metodological argument....
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It strikes me as if discourse analysis is concerned with all that is taking place or is implicated in discourse; that is, all that ‘lies hidden’, as Michel Foucault would say, in the depths and in fact all levels of discourse, to enable it ‘to emerge and become clearly visible’. In this case, discourse analysis is to proceed in two stages: exploration, for example by means of philology, and secondly by description. But quite other tools and procedures than these are probably called for in approaches to discourse where the guiding principle is to point out the item of communication, whether intended or not, which is received consciously or subliminally, showing how the transmission and reception are achieved. Which of these two approaches describes adequately the task of discourse analysis; or should we rather be searching for a practice that combines the explanation of all that is going on in discourse with focus on information content that is passed across or garnered?
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A very insightful question. You have astutely observed the functional role of discourse analysis in demystifying the byzantine complexities underlying the argumentation models dominating acts of communication.
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Hi precious researchers,
I Am working on Michel Foucault's subjectivity idea and I am working also him late era works.
I want to contact with ones who works on same project with mine for sharing data.
Can you reach me for that?
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I can discuss Foucault with you as I employ his ideas quite often in my own works.
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1. From where does the ideal speaking subject speak? Where is the locus of ideal speaking subject? What is about the history (childhood configuration, neurotic elements) of such ideal speaking subject? Does the outside influence information of inside (a physical organ, LAD)? What happens to transcendental Cogito (as postulated in Cartesian Linguistics) or the competence of creating infinite sets of sentences, when it is subjected to the outside sociality (threat, violence etc.)? (Here I am inkling towards Psychoanalysis-to the construct of "psyche" rather than that of cogito as I am emphasizing on the society-psyche interface).
2. Chomsky, out of his Cartesian anxiety, considers body as a machine. He deploys technical metaphors ((e.g., The terms like "Computation", 'array" "interface", "parser" etc., or operations like "COMMAND", "SATISFY", "SPELL OUT") for explaining human body. These are not metaphors or case of displacement only, but a case of metonymic transformation of human body as these technical metaphors condense the scope of human (linguistic) potentiality. Does human body follow algorithm only at the moment of speaking? Do we not have extra-/non-algorithmic cognitive ability? (My point is that Cognitive Domain is not algorithmic only.)
3. Chomskian syntax analyzes the algorithm of "normal" "well-formed" sentences only. Apart from the exclusion of institution-body corre(a)lation in the Chomskian hypothesis, this very construction of "natural language" (e.g., the well-constructed written sentences) mercilessly marginalizes the language of so-called non-"natural" madness or folly. How do we know the differences between normal way of speaking and abnormal way of speaking? This question was initiated by Foucault (1968) to beg the premise of Cartesian cogito. Chomsky, who is like an old-fashioned physicist, is interested only in VIBGYOR. However, in the domain of Art (where infinite sets of colors are illuminating) and literature, there is a proliferation of "deviations" from so-called "normal standard" (as constructed by the Ideological State Apparatuses) and without such "deviations" no work of art or literature or any paradigm shift is possible. Is this domain of Art and Literature, a domain of unreason or madness or is it un-"scientific"?
References
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I follow answers
best regards
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Bonjour,
Je suis français et je m'intéresse depuis très longtemps à Canguilhem et Foucault, entre autres (Merleau-Ponty particulièrement). Cela est lié à ma formation philosophique et psychologique, mais aussi (et peut-être surtout) à des raison d'histoire familiale, histoire intellectuelle et privée. Or, je constate que des chercheurs non français s'intéressent presque davantage à ces auteurs que des chercheurs français... Pourquoi?
Merci de votre réponse.
Bien cordialement.
Clément Rizet, PhD.
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Sorry that I missed this question initially. I wrote my PhD on Heidegger and Foucault, almost 20 years ago. The renewal of interest beyond what I wrote then came about first by the posthumous publication of his lecture courses, and then the opening up of the archive. There was so much more material to read and discuss, and I thought there would be interest in a project which tried to make sense of it all in relation to the better known works. It was initially one book, Foucault's Last Decade, which became two with Foucault: The Birth of Power. I then decided to go back to the very early work which is the current focus. There may be a book on his work in the 1960s to complete the sequence.
As for Canguilhem, he was of interest for many years, but there was no English study of the whole of his work. I suggested to Polity they should have a book on him for their Key Contemporary Thinkers series. They came back to ask me to write it. That wasn't my intention, but the project was intriguing, and I eventually agreed. The publication of his Oeuvres, and the archive at the ENS meant this was an interesting project. My book is complete and will be out in February 2019.
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please introduce me the related resources in this regard.
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In Edward W. Said’s Orientalism, he resists the notion of one human nature – as does Michel Foucault in his works. Said used a local history (of the East) to make a universal claim.
Foucault wrote genealogies of power in his analysis of institutions, but his cases were somewhat cherry-picked. Foucault believed he was seeing what others were not in his own positive unconscious. Foucault wrote a lot on ‘ruptures', as he was also interested in the idea of origins and turning points. In Beginnings: Intention and Method, Said elaborates on this issue, making a distinction between ‘origins' and ‘beginnings'.
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Recently, my director wishes me to hand a piece of work of explaining the text of Michel Foucault, which I have no idea of how to accomplish it, given my poor academic training. Any suggestions about how to pick a text, how to explain it in a right way and anything to avoid ?
Thanks in advance.
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My approach would be to find a good secondary source to begin with. For example something from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
From there you can find further sources that may help you to find something more specific to the text you are interested in.
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Telling the truth is not a dictate from one person to another, but a relation based on trust from both sides where both sides are willing to tell the truth. Rules have to be made in such a truth-telling context to guarantee the function of the conversation and solve the problems when necessary.that's when Gibbard comes to help. One of the advantages of using norm-expressivism is that the rules are already made and correspond perfectly to the truth-telling situation we are facing here. 
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To tell the truth, I didn't expect such an immediate response. WoW. Your remark has just hit the nail on the head! That is exactly what I wished to develop in my research. Thank you also for the book and the link, I haven't looked deep into them but I guess that would be helpful.
I have also read McIntyre, L.,2015. Respecting truth: willful ignorance in the Internet age
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Perhaps my paper on "Foucault and the truth" is interesting for you: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~dgsch/?page_id=525. (Unfortunately it is in German.)
PS.: Information English, Castilian and French you find there on my homepage: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~dgsch/?page_id=554
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Nicht gefunden. Entschuldigung.
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In his Río conferences in 1973 (La vérité et les formes juridiques), Michel Foucault chastises, without mentioning any specific author, a so-called "academic Marxism" according to which the appeal to sociohistorical explanations of discourse would only be possible in the case of "ideology", understood as "error", but not for truth itself; "external history" would not possibly account for true statements, only for "distorted" ones. But, does any actual Marxist fit that description? I thought of Althusser as a plausible candidate, but I haven't found in his writings any commitment to the idea that "external" social relations only bring about false, distorted statements.
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Dear Claudio,
You might be interested in this article by Stéphane Legrand. I don't think you will necessarily find names that "fit" Foucault's definition, but the author proposes interesting approaches to Foucault's relations to marxism and marxists.
Best regards
Denis
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It seems the Foucault Pendulum experiment hasn't been changed much after it was firstly introduced in 1851 as a simple proof of Earth's self-rotation.
So, I was pondering whether modern science could do something to perfect this beautiful experiment. As many Museum has electromagnetic incorporated to keep the bob swinging, I'm considering why not just let the bob statically float above that magnetic base instead of swinging around? Magnetic Levitation is a way to realize it.
The idea is pretty simple: The bob floating above the magnetic base rotating with Earth could have a relative movement with the Earth, also proving the self-rotation of Earth.
Many videos about this experiment could be found on youtube, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4lW7xydnH8
But I also have a concern: Would the rotating magnetic field (produced from levitation base) affect the suspended object above it if that magnetic field is inhomogeneous, which could produce force by cutting through the inhomogeneous magnetic force lines?
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Not sure about this magnetic question, but there must be data about magnetics of the earth in relationslhip to equator and north and south movement of energy fields.
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Foucault points out that, even though there are many discussions on the idea of "Author", none of the current theories try to understand how the concept of "opus"/ "literary work"  operates in different literary systems. I'm trying to find authors that deal with this concept in a theoretical level. Could you recommend me some? 
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Caio,
Umberto Eco é um bom caminho para isso. Comece com "Obra Aberta" e depois pode prosseguir para as questões do livro "As Formas do Conteúdo", "Estrutura Ausente" e "Lector in Fabula" (que é uma grande resposta ao Barthes), todos da Editora Perspectiva em Português.
Também tenho coisas escritas sobre isso. Coloquei aqui alguns  que trabalham sobre a questão de autoria e diferentes níveis da obra
Abraço!
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Especially if it (even remotely) relates to the notion of expertise? To contextualize, the text is supposed to feed into a debate on the proliferation of the so-called experts in international organizations. Thank you so much for any clues!
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Hi Laís,
There are a few things I can recommend as texts dealing with Foucault's notions of power and knowledge production. Here are a couple:
Faubion, J.  (Ed.). (2000), Michele Foucault: Power. New York, NY: The New Press.
Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse on language. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Gordon, C. (Ed.) (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977 by Michele Foucault. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.
I would also suggest that there is implicit mention of power and knowledge in Foucault's work on subject creation, particularly in the following:
Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline & punish: The birth of the prison. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality, Volume I. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
These are just a couple off the top of my head, but there are certainly others that may be of use. Let me know if I can be of further assistance!
Cheers,
Elizabeth
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My research is a qualitative research where I want to modify Karl Mannheim's theory of Sociology of Knowledge with similar theories such as Peter Berger' and Michel Foucault's theory mainly about knowledge.
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Describe the work of each of the theorists in your review of literature.  Then in your methodology, explain how you have combined them into a new theoretical framework, and give that framework a name.  After you have done this, clearly giving credit to them, you can use your own name for the new theoretical framework you have synthesized..   
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This type of analysis was essentially derived by Michael Foucault.
Thank you.
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I think it depends on what the implications of Post-Structuralist theory are for your object of research. For example, I'm combining discourse analysis and interview-based research in a project on academic identity, but, as I'm drawing on post-Structuralist discourse theory (Foucault, Laclau and Mouffe, Critical Discourse Analysis etc.), one of my critical assumptions, following poststructuralism's 'decentering of the subject',  and the idea that subjectivity is 'constituted in discourse', is that my participant's responses are not reliable indicators of any unified identity, or of any corresponding mental or social 'reality'. As such, I have had to accept that what post-Structuralist theory tells us about the subject, has serious implications for the reliability of the interview as a data collection 'instrument'. To this end, I have found the work of Potter and Wetherell on 'Interpretive Repertoires' immensely useful, as it permits one to look at the interview as the discursive co-construction of the researcher and participant, and the 'subjectivity' of each party as not a fixed 'social fact' but a situated 'accomplishment', while also analyzing the data for variability and contradiction (i.e. destabilized meaning), rather than 'consistency'.
Another good paper to look at is Derek Hook's 'Discourse, Knowledge, Materiality, History: Foucault and Discourse Analysis', where the author seeks to map out what a 'Foucauldian discursive analytic method may have looked like'.
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Looking at ideas of control in nineteenth century British factories. 
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You might look at Rabinbach's The Human Motor;
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Seeing if research has been conducted where Foucault's use of Bentham's Panopticon as a visual tool of control, has been considered by other senses. 
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Dear Alex. If you extend the concept of “panopticon” and consider that Foucault is talking about a deployment involving Knwoledge and power, a device —of visibility, in this case— and a control mechanism (and not just an spatial architecture for prisons based on watching), then you can also take into account other devices of control concerning sound or tact, for example. As a matter of fact, discipline is always a microphysical device of tact controlling, that manages the ways of encounter between bodies; prison also confines tactile experiences, and stablishes who can touch or be touched. In his work Noise. The political economy of music, Jacques Attali explores the devices of control of sound (we could talk about regimes of sonority) that allow to perform a social control through the organization of music an the economy of noise (symbolizing, harmonizing, reapeting and imposing it, or even composing it). Our societies of control have also developed some kind of political economy of smelling and a whole market of odors (not only managed by the perfume industry).
Best regards
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Hi everyone,
first of all I'm trying to figure out if dispositive analysis is a useful perspective for geographical research. Furthermore I think about doing further research on creative cities using this perspective. Why are there just a few geographers using the dispositive, introduced by Michel Foucault, although it allows for adressing material and immaterial aspects of ("creative") urbanism for instance? Are there disciplinary, theoretical reasons, path dependencies in geographical thinking with Foucault? I'm looking forward to your critical input!
Best,
Moritz
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Dear Felix,
thanks a lot! Peck and Evans are already part of my PhD project and I'm looking forward to reading the other two!
Best,
Moritz
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Can someone help me suggest some references about assymetric power relationships? I'm trying Foucault and Erick Wolf.
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Dear Jeronimo,
If you are interested in how to measure assymetric Power relationship, our centre has developed a scale called power-related proactive aggression, which you find described in eg. Fandrem, Strohmeier & Roland (2009): Bullying and victimization among native and immigrant adolescents in Norway: The role of reactive and proactive aggressiveness, Journal of early adolescents, 29, 898-923.
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The Invention of Africa, and the Idea of Africa are books by Mudimbe, an African scholar that is becoming popular.  On learning that his work takes the postmodern perspective of Michel Foucault, a great French scholar, I have felt the need to ask if a work inform by such perspective can provide the much needed insights to resolve Africa's crisis conditions in the realm of political, social and economic development.
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I don't know about the referenced books because I have not read them but my book "Human Rights, What Are They Really?" would be a good reference. If all Africans knew and understood the theory of fundamental rights that is presented in the book they would have rules that would apply to human interaction in all situations. These would have a similar regulating effect as the rules of the road have had in regulating human interaction when behind the wheel of a vehicle on the public road. The theory of rights also enables evaluation of government behaviour on an objective basis and can provide an authoritative reference for opposition to government and prosecution of offensive government leaders. If people are not aware that they have fundamental rights as human beings they will allow themselves to be bullied and persecuted.
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i have to draw  a comparison between work of both for my Ph.D assignment. looking for some help
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Probably best to read both and make a judgement.
Broadly,Foucault approached self and identity as performances, based on ways of knowing and practicing that permeate through society as so many dominant and sometimes interlinking discourses. Accordingly, self and identity are social constructs, there is no inner or essential self or singular identity threading through the biology and sociology of the individual, the latter 'singularity' is an example of performing identity and self, no more no less. For example, being a father is a performance not the unfolding of a biological urge and sociological essence (although this performance is often inscribed by the latter). Giddens approaches self and identity as the dual performance of social agents and structures, with the emphasis on social agents weaving more or less enduring social structures from the intricate totality of social actions. The relationship, social structure and social agency feed off each other producing a dialectic of constraints and opportunities impacted by social class, gender, ethnicity, racism and so on. The concept of duality offers the space for identity and self to be both the work of social agents and of social structure. There is scope in Giddens to allow for identities in the plural and for a singular more enduring identity or sense of self, one's biography. The key seems to be the degree of social fluidity and structural change. Periods of social fluidity breed insecurities and risks to personal narratives as agents seek to perhaps re-establish or move away from existing identities. In this case begin a father may be an identity in flux. From different perspectives, Foucault and Giddens share the thought that identity and self are social constructs. One leans toward performance the other to the existential.
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I am reviewing the concept transdisciplinarity by doing an intellectual history.  I am only familiar with Foucault's work - a history of the present.  Are there any other contemporary methodologies worth exploring?
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Hi Jane,
One work that I think is going to make us rethink and rework the history of ideas is Robert Stam & Ella Shohat's "Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media" (Routledge, 1994). It makes us realise that an awareness of the intellectually debilitating effects of the Eurocentric legacy is indispensable for comprehending not only contemporary media represntations but even contemporary subjectivities. An earlier work on the same lines was Edward Said's 'Orientalism" that shows, among other things, how Eurocentrism is naturalised as "common sense" often through an opposition with "other" cultures that are positioned as "inferior". We have to challenge the notion that the West constitutes the world's center of gravity and once you do that, entire histories demand to be rewritten. 
Best,
Indranil
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Foucault's thoughts on subjectivities refer mainly to consumer governmentality. Does anyone know any scholars working more broadly on subjectivation/subjectification or objectification practices?
with thanks
S
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Hi, Stephane:
Wonderful question and a great topic of discussion---particularly Foucault''s concept of governmentality (Skålén, Fellesson, & Fougère, 2006)---what marketing seeks to govern, how marketing governs, and who we become when governed by marketing! 
Moreover, 'Foucauldian shift'  (Kasabov, 2004)---technology of power to the refined instruments of observation, inspection, and controlling are becoming the norm of modern society! Help lines and direct marketing are two familiar and prominent examples of refined disciplining. Refined discipling... how such a approach seeks to control, standardise and regulate the consumer! This is fascinating!
A recent research study (Fougère & Skålén, 2013) analyzed the managerialistic ideology of marketing theory by focusing on “customerism”—the customer-oriented managerialism that characterizes marketing. As an ideology, customerism has made it possible for marketing to discursively compete with different management fields in directing the management of organizational members.
The authors based their notion of managerialism in Foucauldian works on power and make a distinction between three forms of power/managerialism: sovereign, disciplinary, and pastoral. Their analysis displays how the forms of power underpinning the customeristic ideology inherent to marketing theory have changed over time, thereby contributing to the reproduction and extension of that ideology.
In particular, the authors show how different articulations of marketing discourse have developed the managerialism of marketing in such a way that today (1) organizational members around the world are meant to be affected by it and (2) it is meant to affect these organizational members in a deeper way!
  • Fougère, M., & Skålén, P. (2013). Extension in the Subjectifying Power of Marketing Ideology in Organizations: A Foucauldian Analysis of Academic Marketing. Journal Of Macromarketing, 33(1), 13-28. 
  • Skålén, P., Fellesson, M., & Fougère, M. (2006). The governmentality of marketing discourse. Scandinavian Journal Of Management, 22(4), 275-291.
  • Kasabov, E. (2004). POWER AND DISCIPLINING: BRINGING FOUCAULT TO MARKETING. Irish Marketing Review, 17(1/2), 3-12.
Hope this helps!
Nadeem
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Foucault defined heterotopia as "places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted" (1986, 3). I am working about the theatrical space as an heterotopia in which narratives of identity (and contestation of identity) can be performed and I would like to now the connections with the notion of 'margins' as I understand that an heterotopia is also a 'place for Otherness' (Hetherington 1997)
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Dear Irene,
I think Tracey Heatherington's Wild Sardinia serves well as an example. Her fieldsite is "margins" in Europe and becomes subject to ecological governance ; with the cultural technique of "allochronism" (Fabian), locals are considered as backwards; their region, Central Sardinia, is imagined as a zone of ecological alterity: "The alterity long associated with Sardinia's 'criminal zone' continues to be reaffirmed as an ecological alterity" (Wild Sardinia, 132). I know similar examples from my own fieldwork in Portugal: regions considered as economically marginal in the EU are often subject to those ambivalent imaginaries, of ecological projections: the margins become ecological heterotopias. Hope this is of use, Werner
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In his earlier works Foucault described two disciplinary technologies of the body that associated power and knowledge (within institutions such as the school, prison and hospital). The ‘gaze’ produced power by observing subjects, while the ‘archive’ created a repository of these observations, organised in terms of constructed categories (for instance, of diseases, bodies, genders, crimes etc) that allowed power to be exercised strategically and differentially. These together also provide the foundation of modernist research and science.
His later works turned to technologies of the self, and is replete with examples such as the confessional or codes of sexual behaviour, along with the broader process of ‘responsibilism’ (making subjects responsible for their actions) that is a feature of (neo) liberal society.
The secondary Foucauldian literature on disciplinary body technologies seems simply to offer further examples of the gaze and/or archive. My question is, are there other (as yet) unidentified technologies of bodies (as opposed to the self)?
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Hi Nick,
I got it now, thanks for the clarification! The question demands a look at post-Foucauldian scholarship. The work that immediately springs to my mind is Lazzarato’s on debt.
In his book ‘The Making of the Indebted Man’ (originally published in 2011, and in English in 2012) Maurizio Lazzarato considers the political economy and genealogy of debt, drawing on the work of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Marx and Nietzsche. Indeed, in Lazzarato’s conceptualization, debt is denoted as a technology of the self (and the preferred one in the neoliberal society), but it contains elements that concern the body as well, such as ‘life discipline’:
‘Debt directly entails life discipline and a way of life that requires “work on the self,” a permanent negotiation with oneself, a specific form of subjectivity: that of the indebted man.’ (p. 104) This ‘work on the self’ consists in acquiring the attitudes, bodily habits, perceptions, motivations, etc., required by the labour market: ‘Repayment will be made not in money but through the debtor’s constant efforts to maximize his employability, to take a proactive role in his integration into the work or social environment, to be available and flexible on the job market.’ (p. 135) One is implicated in debt not only as a producer, but as a consumer as well: ‘With declines in wages and the destruction of the Welfare State, credit is the only solution if everyone is to get rich. How does this kind of politics work? “You don’t make much money? Not a problem! Take out loans to buy a house, its value will increase, and that will serve as collateral on new loans.” But once interest rates rise, the whole mechanism of income “distribution” through debt and financing collapses.’ (p. 111)
So, debt could be regarded as a technology of self/body that has risen in prominence in the neoliberal age. Such a suggestion raises the more general question about the distinction between ‘technologies of the body’ and ‘technologies of the self’ (that presupposes a distinction between body and self), but this would require the opening of another topic.
Best wishes,
Teo
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Are there any Foucault scholars out there? I'm hoping someone can explain what the word "discible" means. Foucault uses this word in the following sentence: "The Visible was neither Dicible nor Discible"(Birth of the Clinic, p. 60). The original French reads: "Le Visible n'etait pas Dicible, ni Discible". Dicible seems to mean "speakable" or perhaps "able to be put into words". There is a nuance here I suspect, but can anyone help with the translation of "discible"?
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Hi everyone
I think there’s a need for a further update on this, I’m afraid. I’ve had some e-mail exchanges with Sanda over the weekend and also been able to consult with an acquaintance who is bilingual French/English.
Having had a chance to look at the various web sites that include the word ‘discible’, and from my associate’s experience, there does not seem to be evidence that ‘discible’ is a word in current French usage. As noted, it does not appear in any of the French dictionaries checked. Where it does appear, I suggest it is a spelling mistake or typo for ‘dicible’. Indeed, apparently this mistake is so common in student work that it is actually highlighted as a specific error to be looked out for by examiners.
This becomes clear when looking carefully at the meaning being transmitted in many of the occurrences of ‘discible’. For instance, as I noted in an earlier post:
‘N’avons-nous pas tendance à espérer une réponse pensable, discible?’
which appears at: http://macgyver74.free.fr/nd/nd_08_17.htm, makes most sense when translated as:
‘Don't we usually hope for a reply that is thinkable, speakable?’ In other words, given the accepted meaning of ‘dicible’ as ‘speakable’ or ‘expressible’.
‘Separable’ makes little sense here. Indeed, in none of the occurrences of ‘discible’ identified did the alternative sense proposed of ‘separable’ make more sense than this conventional meaning.
I want to turn now though to the example identified by Sanda that seemed to give a direct meaning for ‘indiscible’. This appears at: http://www.cheminsmystiques.fr/en_chronology.html and reads:
‘On est bien obligé d´apporter ici quelque précision en cernant l´in-discible en un : « ni ceci, ni cela » !’
Which I’ll translate as: ‘What’s essential here is some accuracy: to define the in-discible as "neither this nor that"
However, I now want to put this sentence in the context of the rest of the web page.
What the author Dominique Tronc is doing is launching into an argument about the nature of mysticism, and the first line of his discourse is to offer (for some reason) a definition of the ‘in-discible’ (a word that has not been used up to this point and is not used again in the rest of the text, though ‘indicible’ does). What follows is an argument that mysticism cannot be understood as this, that or the other, but rather (as he says at the end of his argument a few lines later) that:
'Il ne reste plus que le grand Rien, le grand Vide. ... « La mystique » en tant que corpus textuel ne fait pas partie du champ intellectuel, n'élabore pas de champs conceptuel ou de problématique : elle tente péniblement d'exprimer l'indicible par des mots’. (Note that this time the word is ‘indicible’).
I'd translate this as:
‘It is no more nor less than the great Nothing the grand Void. ... ‘Mysticism’ when set out in words is not part of an intellectual field, it does not elaborate a conceptual field, or a problematic: it painfully tries to express the inexpressible in words.’
So this is the context in which he has offered the preamble of defining indiscible as neither this nor that. The only purpose is to set up the argument that mysticism is beyond words. What this means is that he has not defined a separate 'indiscible' at all, he has merely offered a further more quirky definition of 'indicible' (the inexpressible or ineffable): note his exclamation mark.
Critically, once again, this is just another mistake in spelling: 'indiscible' should be 'indicible'.
So what do I conclude from all this? Basically, that there is not a word ‘discible’ in current French usage: it is merely a typo when it occurs. Foucault’s use of it in Birth of the Clinic is a neologism, and his is thus the only example of its being used intentionally.
On that basis, the only recourse is to try hermeneutically to understand 'discible' from the context of its use in Birth of the Clinic.
Sorry this is such a marathon
Nick
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I'm currently researching technological automation in British agriculture and I am failing to see why the theories of "mechanisms of power" or an "iron cage" don't correlate with the high amounts of techno-optimism expressed by farmers? Is it false consciousness or false sociology?
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Dear James
This is an interesting question. I am guessing from your summary that you have conducted empirical research and found that farmers regard automation as liberating and offering promise for the future?
Before I try to address this, just worth noting that when Weber talked about an ‘iron cage’ it was in relation to the social relations and economics of capitalism, that forces people to work for a living (Protestant Ethic, page 181). Yes he was talking about industrialisation, but it was the rationalisation of working life and bureaucracy rather than technology that created this iron cage.
Beyond Weber there is a broader sociological tradition that has seen technology as de-skilling work (the ‘proletarianisation of everyone’). Taylorism and Fordism in factory work are the prime examples here. In Taylorism, a skilled job is split into a series of components, with one worker responsible for each: these sub-tasks are repetitive and offer little opportunity for creativity. In Fordism, work is mechanised to the extent that workers have to work at the speed of the production line, again leading to workers being alienated from their work. Of course, for Marx, this alienation derived from the social relations of capitalism, which meant that workers had to sell their labour power in order to survive.
Now I suspect that for farmers, these social relations are different. Many will be self-employed, and will be seeking to maximise their income. Technology represents a means to do just this: think how much grain can be gathered by a combine harvester as opposed to a scythe! Technology also reduces the costs of employing a workforce; where one machine can do the work of ten people, the wage bill is slashed. Offset against that of course is the capital outlay and the cost of diesel!
So I wonder if this is why your respondents are optimistic. I live next to a farm, and they just love their tractors and automated gadgets to do all the tasks that would take ages to do without technology. When I am cutting my lawns, I envy them their huge mowers that could do my lawns in about ten minutes.
Does this throw any light on the issue?
Nick
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Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault appealed to Kant's latest writings in order to ground their idea of modernity as an attitude as well as the human possibility of thinking without universal patterns that ordered judgments about human events. The Aufklarung is meant to be at Kant's writings" What is Auflarung" and "Crirtique of Judgement" the beginning of a particular political thought which was discontinued during XiX th. and half of XX th century
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I advise you to read the Foucault's essay: "Qu'est-ce que la critique? (Critique et Aufklarung).
in this essay, Foucault explores the connection between freedom and critics, recognizing the aufklarung of Kant the time to courage against the government.
This essay was translated into Italian language:
M. Foucault, Illuminismo e critica, donzelli editore, 1997.
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I'm worried about hermeneutic relations of these thinkers in relation to language, metaphor and discourse.
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Ricoeur takes discourse to be the utmost basic meaning- conferring context within which an intelligent interlocutor can understand other interlocutors (similar to Charles Taylor's note on the 'sciences of man'). Foucault sees discourse differently: in terms of social theory (rather than as a philosophical investigation into the structure of meaning formation, and intelligibility of meanings between agents who, per asssumption, can understand meanings) and thus as a context of power relations taking place inside a particular social order on the premise that such an order is always empirically manifested in its own specific historical locus. Foucault comes out from the tradition of historical-empirical studies, Ricoeur from that of the philosophy of language. So, I would say NO to your question.
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To understand this notion better, I am trying to show that while there are shifts in his career, one still can find a continuity. This continuity for me is the relation between four elements Visibility, Articulation, Subject, History. In archaeological period the convergence of relations is Articulation, in Genealogical period Visible and in Ethical period Subject. I would be very grateful to hear about any ideas you have about this relation.
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You may find interesting Judith Buttler's essay "What is Critique? An Essay on Foucault’s Virtue" at this link http://eipcp.net/transversal/0806/butler/en.
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My thesis is on Foucault's subjectivity. Does anyone know how I can apply it in a novel? Do you know of any useful literary theory books on the topic?
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You mean a PHD thesis? If this is the case, you will have to read Foucault and start with the study the 3 years-books of Foucault courses:
1981-1982 : L'Herméneutique du sujet, Paris, Gallimard, 2001, 540 p. (ISBN 2020308002)
1982-1983 : Le Gouvernement de soi et des autres I, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, 382 p. (ISBN 2020658690)
1983-1984 : Le Gouvernement de soi et des autres II : Le Courage de la vérité, Paris, Gallimard, 2009, 334 p. (ISBN 978-2-02-065870-6).
and even better, what he wrote before.
You should find also materials in "Dits et Ecrits" publication.
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why should philosophy consider Foucault seriously?
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Hello Harish,
I wonder
- Who is hiding behind "philosophy"?
- What is this person expecting from philosophy?
- How could Foucault match (or not) his expectations?
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1st: Is here someone, who has currently access to the French edition of Foucaults "Dits et Écrits" (Tome IV, Gallimard: Paris, 1994 or Tome II from the 2001 paperback edition)
and could tell me please, what is the French title and the first and last page of the interview, which is published in German as:
++ Freiheit und Selbstsorge. Gespräch mit Michel Foucault am 20. Januar 1984, in: idem, Freiheit und Selbstsorge. Interview 1984 und Vorlesung 1982 ed. by Helmut Becker / Lothar Wolfstetter / Alfred Gomez-Muller / Raúl Fornet-Betancourt, Materialis: Frankfurt am Main, 1993: 2nd ed. [1985: 1st ed.], 7 - 28
and
++ idem, Schriften. Bd. 4, Suhrkamp: Frankfurt am Main, 2005, 875 - 902.
In the French edition from 1994 the pages 723 - 726 are part of that interview.
2nd: I would appreciate, if the admins would a allow to all members of the group to start new topics within the discussion board.
Best
DGS
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For "Freiheit und Selbstsorge. Gespräch mit Michel Foucault..."
I think the original French title is "L'éthique du souci de soi comme pratique de la liberté" and the article n° is 356.
Sorry I only have the french 2vol. version:
"L'éthique du couci de soi comme pratique de la liberté", in Dits et écrits II, 1976-1988, Paris : Quarto/Gallimard, 2001, pp.1527-1548
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« Ce sont tous ces phénomènes de rapport entre les sciences ou entre les différents discours dans les divers secteurs scientifiques qui constituent ce que j’appelle épistémè d’une époque »
Am I the only one to be forcibly reminded of Kuhn? Were Kuhn and Foucault seperated at birth? WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!!!!
His general account seems acceptable to that general position both Haris and I would accept. Nonetheless, Foucault betrays a very nineteenth century vision of Science (even more than Kuhn, who seems blocked in the early 20th century).
To my eyes, Foucault's error is his "engagement", which is made manifest in his thinking in a most unlovely tendency towards prescription rather than description... "améliorisme", as we say in France (or as we SHOULD say).
So, my first comment - is social engagement a reprehensible trait in a philosopher?
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My answer is rather a case of crying off... there's no point in re-opening the analytic/continental debate here....
I'd suggest deleting the initial messages and relaunching the discussion.
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Or is it rather the soul of the body?
Please write you answer on a postcard and leave it behind the cistern of the toilets at L'Escritoire café on the Place de la Sorbonne before midnight on New Year's Eve.
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A very wise choice indeed. I shall stop singing.