Re: Foucault a postmodernist?

At 12:16 PM 7/14/95, Jorge.E.Pedraza@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

>And Karen wrote:
>>Expressing the same confusion, I was told the term "postmodernism"
>>has been used differently for different disciplines

I think this has contributed to what I described before as "indiscriminate"
use. I can see a kind of metaphorical linkage between, on the one hand, the
way New Wave musicians used earlier forms of rock and roll and, on the
other way, the way Johnson uses earlier forms of architecture. But is there
any way at all to connect the postmodernism of Foucault with the
postmodernism of Talking Heads? Or has the word become almost a homonym of
itself by this point? The same could be said of modernism, of course,
except that I'm not sure that word was used in serious discourse for
anything but aesthetics until recently. Was Kant called "modernist" before
the advent of "postmodernism"? That's a real question, not a rhetorical
one. Anyone know?

I don't see "postmodern" much anymore in serious writing, presumably
because it's now become too amorphous (or too faddish?) to use
intelligently. People groan when it comes up. Fluidity of meaning can be
exhilarating, we all know that; but simple vagueness - well, that's another

>Structuralism was used to designate a kind of scientific, kind of Kantian
>sense of deep underlying structure...

Not only deep, but transcendent, timeless, outside of history, essential.
This is the sense in which Foucault's work is post-structuralist: still
very interested in social, intellectual and *human* structures, including
the "subject" itself. But now it's their genealogy, their construction and
evolution in history, rather than their purely formal properties, that are
of interest.

A side-effect of examining the particular construction of what was thought
to be pre-existing, whether it be rationalism or the subject, brings us
back to some of things mentioned before by others: the break up of the
unified, sovereign subject (was Freud a closet post-structuralist?); the
limits of Reason; histories that aren't teleologies; the arbitrary nature
of what seems orderly on the surface; etc etc.



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