Re: Foucault a postmodernist?

Karen has certainly sparked some lively discussion! I think that the
question "why are post-modernists so heavily criticized?" cannot be
addressed through an examination only of postmodernism's specific
critical claims or theoretical content. Instead I think it is more
useful to look more broadly at the context of its reception, and the
nature of the community it which it has entered. I don't think
theoretical discoveries alone threaten structures as much as their
incursions onto reserved turfs or their threatened reallocation of
departmental funds and publishing priviledges. Postmodernism renders the
typical American philosophy department as useless as an 8 track tape, as
it localizes epistemologies and subjects philosophies most precious
categories to a ruthless historicization. It is possible to find, even
in the most analytic departments some mention of post modernism, but the
question is: why would such departments support the study of a doctrine
which so radically devalues the cultural capital this institution is
charged with distributing.

The same can be said of other departments. However, help is on the way:
the work of the domestication of postmodernism is being carried out in
the varying pragmatic turns/linguistic turns of Rorty's and Habermas's.
The first Nietzschean anti-foundationalist claims from which post
modernism is derived are often compormised with liberal agendas to ensure
a happy appropriation of subversion into institution.

This is perhaps a little nostalgic, but Foucault is almost certainly one
of the favourite figures for such a blunting appropriation. It sometimes
gets hard to tell "felicitious positivism" (a term Foucault used to
describe his own methodology) from simple "positivism". OR it becomes
easy to dress up the most banal positivism in a garb that suggests the
proximity of something hipply felicitous.



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