Re: Totalization

Tom writes:

>In article duffett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Landis Duffett) [sic - note: this was a
>quote by me of someone else] writes:

>>>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.

>The reader is embroiled and put in a situation where there is
>no option but to agree. He has a disarming tendency to say such things as
>'everyone knows these things' and to connect disparate 'facts' in such a way
>as to maintain a position which is reliant upon his obvious erudition. I feel
>that heuses very adroitly the legitimizing structures of an academic tradition
>which he is ostensibly overturning.
>Your comments would be appreciated.

I think what would be even more appreciated at this point (at least by me)
would be some specific examples of these totalizing practices which you and
others claim to have seen in Foucault's writings. I'm not trying to say
they're not there; I would just like to see them, and to examine them in
their context and then to reach a decision on my own. Perhaps you could
help me and anyone else out who is interested in specific instances.

I admit that I've read only a little bit of Foucault (_Madness and
Civilization_, "What is an Author" and parts of _Birth of the Clinic_);
however, I can't say that I've noticed this totalizing tendency in
I think one runs a risk of misinterpreting Foucault when one fails to take
into account Foucault's entire notion of commentary. I don't believe
Foucault ever thought he was linking facts together to build up a solid and
indestructible wall of truth. Foucault himself (sorry I don't remember
where he said it) stressed rather a process which at least attempted (even
if not successful) to escape the destiny of being mere commentary by
constructing new mythologies and new traditions of mythologies to
supplement (?) the older ones(while the whole time being aware --even if he
didn't state it--that the "facts" he was putting together were just as much
of a mythology as the accepted ones). (This is a major paraphrase on my
part and merely represents my vague --and perhaps not entirely accurate--
recollection of an interview I read: perhaps someone could clarify better).
In any case, I think my point is clear: of course Foucault is not going to
cast doubt or purport false modesty every other sentence if his task is to
construct alternate traditions and alternate mythologies. This hangs
together in a quite obvious way with Foucault's interest in unknown and
obscure sources and traditions.
Anyway, I certainly would like to see some specific examples of
totalization in Foucault's writings. I think it's only fair to Foucault
that we back up our own potentially totalizing comments on him with some


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