Re: Totalization

>The identification of Foucault's conceptual/methodological application as
>being one of totalization is interesting. The complaint is a reasonable
>one, and something that should be discussed. There is no doubt that
>certain works by Foucault resemble a totalization of some sort,
>_vis-a-vis_ their application of concepts and method. But what does this
>presence of totalization reveal in Foucault's works? Is it a
>methodological dogmatism? An idiosyncratic rut? Is it a celebration of
>interpretive ecstasy? Or perhaps a working toward the revelation of
>interpretation throught disclosure of our creative magnitude? However
>one wants to problematize it, the possible answers look very interesting.
>What do the rest of you think in regard to this matter?

I think that, in order to address this allegation properly, one would need
to see some examples of totalization in Foucault's analyses and discourse.
What strikes me as the most noticeable characteristic of Foucault's writing
is rather its dialectic and eclectic nature. For example, already in one of
his first works, _Madness and Civilization_, Foucault takes a somewhat
Marxian, at least materialist, approach in analyzing, for example, the
rounding up and incarceration not only of derelicts but of the unemployed
as well in the 16th and 17th centuries in order to maintain a cheap source
of labor and balance out the market. But by the time he gets to the 18th
century, Foucault has completely flipped and is pointing out how
Enlightenment ideas (not materialist factors) are influencing the
maintenance of mental institutions. This is just one example, but I think
it at least casts some doubt on the allegation that Foucault operates from
some totalizing narrative in the same way as, say, Marx or Freud or even
Derrida. It seems, indeed, that Foucualt has drawn more criticism precisely
because he DOESN'T have a totalizing foundation for his analysis. In any
case, perhaps you could give some specific examples of how Foucault
totalizes in his works.


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