From: Nesta <na.devine@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 21:40:33 +1200
Im sorry! I didn't intend to be sarcastic.
'To answer your first question, Nesta, and to paraphrase
closely, it would be the use of these works, these preoccupations, these
results, in everyday political struggles, that would count for me as
demonstration of effect.'
Isn't this the answer you have been looking for? and don't the rest of
the quotes suggest that the place in which to conduct these struggles is
not necessarily *out* of the arena of scientist and *in* the arena of
exegesis, which seemed to be the heart of your question?
I have been reading the work of Donald/Deirdre McCloskey, which in many
ways I find unsatisfactory ( (s)he is talking about economics as
rhetoric, rather than as 'hard science' - I don't accept your
identification of hard science with 'constraints' btw) - but there is
in it an awareness of unsatisfaction with the certainties of science -
which I think might be derived, if barely or not acknowledged - from
Foucault - the same is true of others, like Anne Salmond, who writes
anthropology/history and explicitly denies being 'post modern' but none
the less, I think what she writes is not quite the same as she might
have written if.....
I think one of the matters we have not acknowledged in this discussion
is the reluctance of many to acknowledge a debt to Foucault, or to write
anything which might be perceived as 'postie' because that might commit
them to a perceived ethical relativism which is going to get them into
deep trouble with their supporters??? Am I too suspicious here? and
also, some of the avowed Foucauldians seem to have taken on,
exclusively, the History of Sexuality to a point of post-liberalism,
which again removes them from political conflict because it is all about
personal agency. I heard a speaker at a recent post-structuralists
conference in Australia (passing through several of the conferees spent
a day in Auckland) and the way she rendered Foucault's disparagement of
the role of oracular intellectual was effectively to disengage from
politics altogether. Not at all impressive, in my view.