Re: Foucault a postmodernist?

R Shapiro wrote:
>> What's been described here recently as "post-modernism" sounds more to me
>> like "post-structuralism". The former is, or at least was, a term from
>> aesthetics (originally architecture), not epistomology. The "modernism" in
>> question would not be represented by Kant but rather by Joyce, or the
>> Bauhaus, or, in some versions, The Beatles.

And Karen wrote:
>Expressing the same confusion, I was told the term "postmodernism"
>has been used differently for different disciplines - and may mean one trend
>for aesthetics and another entirely in epistomology. There may be a
>theoretical link, but different tracks taken to explore them.

Jorge writes:
It is all a most interesting confusion. R. Schapiro and Karen are on to
What is the difference between aesthetics and epistemology anyway?

Structuralism was used to designate a kind of scientific, kind of Kantian
sense of deep underlying structure...I think it "occured" somewhere between
Levi-Strauss and Lacan and the "rediscovery" of Saussure and Freud. Still,
it would not really be fair to through Levi-Strauss and Lacan in exactly
the same boat as Kant and epistemological positivisms that are made in his
name. Keep in mind what the object of their studies where..."primitive"
societies and the unconscious (this is short hand) and what kind of
attitude they had to the prevailing scientific and cultural positivisms of
their day (very hostile). That was back in the late 40's early 50's and
may have been directed against, or in dialogue with Sartre and Beauvoir.
Then people in literature, Barthes helped do this I think, started
"applying" all this to literary structure.

Post-structuralism, I think, was when some started pushing these "methods"
very far, to the point where the very notion of structure starts to twist
and collapse. Derrida led this attack back in the late 60's. I think the
term deconstruction was targeted at the term structuralism.

Foucault also appears in the midst of all this with Madness and
Civilization -- is it 1961? and Les mots et les choses (Order of things)
of 1966? Both of these are sort of structuralist sort of
post-structuralist. Really they are more Nietzschean, if that helps at

Then there's Althusser in this same period...Blanchot...Bataille...a whole
gang of people who really complicate the notion of structuralism as being
positivist Kantianism. depends one how you want to use the could
stand for the Enlightenment project generally, for Kant, for Hegel for
philosophical totalism (is that a word?), for the supremacy of reason and
rationality. could stand for the literary and aesthetic movements
at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. These latter are very
divided in their allegiances to the notions of order and rationality. You
have Eliot and Pound and their way of "bringing order into chaos." You
also have New Criticism, a literary theory emerging from some of these
ideas that seek to emphasize literary form and structure over other ways of
looking at literature. And, in architecture, you have the likes of Le
Corbusier (Bauhaus etc) and the notion of the rational rebuilding of
society by way of blue print. Or you have much wilder forms...the avant
garde, Dada, Surrealism etc. which explicitly seek to disrupt some of the
very things that are consecrated in New Critical Modernism. Some people
make a sharp distinction between High Modernism (Joyce, Eliot, Proust) and
avant garde and or popular modernism (Buster Keaton, film).

As for modernity...this, I think, is a completely different kettle of designates a much broader sense of the society and culture at
large, rather than a critical, aesthetic, or philosophical tendency.

Post-modernism? I'm still working on that one...but I think for the most
part it's directed at modernism conceived of as a line from Kant, Hegel to
Marx, Hegemonic state capitalism and totalitarianism. Is structuralism
part of that line? Yes and no, but for the most part not really. It's a
wonderful mess.

...but I see that Leo just posted something which says it better than I I'll break off here.



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