Re: deconstruction v. genealogy

On Sun, 20 Aug 1995, Tom Blancato wrote:

> Except the text is limited to the interesection of language, institutions and
> power.
> Sam Vagenas writes:
> >Genealogy is different from deconstruction:
> >
> >1) Deconstruction is limited to the text(s). Genealogy the intersection of
> >language, institutions, and power.
> >
> >2) Genealogy is a narrative (fictional and fungible, but still a narrative);
> >deconsruction an anti-narrative.
> >
> >3) Genealogy laspses into anthropology (see Nietzsche Ubermensch and late
> >Foucault erotics of the self); deconstruction places the axis of meaning
> >outside of the self.
> >
While I think that Sam does a wondeful job of capturing some of the
apparent differences between genealogy and deconstruction, I am still
trying to resist there overall difference (not that they are exactly the
same, of course). Tom seems to be on to something when he brings up the
difference in the way each regards the "text," and I am wondering if #2
and #3 can also be seen in terms of their respective understanding of the
text, discourse, etc.. In other words, while genealogy looks for the
way power (and other things) produces discourse, decon. treats power (and
other things) as a text--as a system of differences, that is. Thus,
although decon. is not, I think, SUCCESSFULLY anti-narrative, it is
better able to maintain this position because (like structuralism) it
treats narrative as a linguistic system. Likewise, deconstruction is
less likely to lapse into anthropology (though it still does, I believe)
because it treats the self like a text.

(Here's a passage that backs up what I am saying: "JD: Yest, that's
true. What bothers me with the use of the word 'desire,' and I have
tried to avoid it, is that where the word appears in writers such as
Lacan, and wll before him too, it tends to be defined as part to the
structure of the subject; of the soul, the psychological or
psychoanalytical subject as we have it in Freud or Lacan. My concern was
to develop a difference whereby desire was not seen as a matter of
consciousness. If there is desire, it is BECAUSE there is difference.
Ths psychologism, this anthropologism bothererd me.")

Erik D. Lindberg
Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211
email: edl@xxxxxxxxxxx


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