Re: Foucault and Normativity

There is no need to get so defensive just because someone asked for a
reinterpretation of hyper-intellectual text. You should be able to
ground your theory.
I have no doubt that it is
possible, nor do I doubt that many people, who are not "intellectual" but
are doing "mundane" life, such as working at the Circle K or cleaning
hospital bed pans already "know" much of what you are discussing -- at
least aspects of power/knowledge, revolution, biopower etc. etc. A four
year old girl who knows she is a lesbian already understands the hetersexual
contract, hegemony, and many things that 'scholars" believe only
"scholarly discourse" can reveal. These philosophical discourses, as
with much of the academic enterprise is not unlike religious and other
ideological groups that believe that all the benefits, progress,
knowledge etc., are only as a result of their involvement and committment
to buddhism, AA, anthropology, whatever. If you think that these
incredibly complex concepts must be discussed in terms that create
discursive exclusivity by necessity because ordinary people can't grok
this stuff, then you need to take time to read Mary Daly's writings, such
as "Gyn/Ecology" and her "Wickedary" to see how its done otherwise. Also
look to the art world, or even the comix. People understand a lot more
than you give them credit. Based on some of the response in your answer,
eg., the irrelevant response to the mention of Gump," I have to concur
with some of the discussion regarding the arrogance of some "Foucaultious"
philosphers on this list. its not necessary, and it doesn't make you
look as bright as you may wish to appear. Lets have a discussion. I've
found that many people who can't explain these ideas to "the little
people" are covering up for their own sense of confusion and dishonesty.
On the issue of revolution and its doability, you can't do it if you
can't talk with the people. Don't be duped or addicted/paralyzed by
such elitist and exclusive jingo. Don't assume its impossible to discuss
these ideas in plain terms, ask what purpose is served by refusing to.

On Thu, 13 Apr 1995 CROSBYJL@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> kgw wrote:
> >I'm very interested in the intellectual meta-language employed here. I'm
> >not sure what exactly your are saying. As with much hyper-theoretical
> >writing, here is so much abstraction that the reader (like the viewer in
> >art) is left to do a lot of interacting and interpretation (open spaces?)
> >with the object or text. I wonder if it would be tooo much of a
> >challenge to ask you to discuss these various concepts here in grounded
> >terms, concrete examples in the living color world of practices? As the
> >lawyer sez in Gump, "tell it to me like I'm a six year old."
> >Kathleen Williamson
Crosby responded:
> I think that it is very important to remember that Foucault is writing
> about things that are not easily expressed in language as we have it.
> Sometimes this can result in the using words in unfamiliar ways,
> employing phrases that seem empty or hyper theoretical. Heidegger and
> Foucault are both concerned with issues of space. Through resisting
> normative structures and institutions we can 'open spaces' where what
> could not be said or thought before can be said or thought. If this is too
> difficult to understand, I apologize. Foucault isn't meant for a six year
> old, and I must say that I refuse to make what I do fit into the criteria set
> up by a movie as banal as "Forrest Gump".
> I can give concrete examples, which is an integral practice in philosophy,
> but I cannot eliminate the necessity of interpretation. I consider
> philosophy to be interactive, and refuse to eliminate that aspect.
> I would ask that if someone doesn't understand something said on this
> list that they request for an explanation without recourse to the American
> tendency to dismiss intellectuals, or blaming the person who posted for
> what is not understood.
> Examples of resistance from the margin that has opened spaces for different
> discourse and practices includes the women's movement, the civil rights
> movement, roe v. wade, the Iranian revolution, reactions against apartheid
> in South Africa, and recycling. We can see that resistance can occur at all
> levels of society, and that the the results of such movements are not
> without problems of their own. This complexity is what Foucault's
> 'methodology' is set up to address.
> Joanna Crosby
> crosbyjl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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