Re: Death of Man/Anthropology

On Wed, 23 Aug 1995, Sam Vagenas wrote:

> It is interesting to watch Foucault's development:
> 1) We have the Archaeology of Knowledge and the Order of Things which
> announce the death of man, and instead try and create an axis point of
> meaning through discourse -- Epistemes and discursive formations.
> 2) Then, Geneaology -- the power turn in which apparatuses and institutions
> are given new valence in works such as Discipline and Punishment and the
> first Volume of the History of Sexuality.
> 3) Finally, the last two volumes of the History of Sexuality and numerous
> essays and interviews which focus back on technology and care of the self.
> There is a strong focus on anthropology in these late works. What's also
> very interesting is that if you look at the last two volumes of the History
> of Sexuality you don't find the painstaking research DP and HS I on the
> intersection between institutions, apparatuses, practices, etc. Most of
> the discussion is around the text of the great historians and philosohpers
> of the time.

This is a really helpful overview. To explain the movement, here, I
would again invoke Derrida and say, somewhat facetiously, that Derrida
taught Foucault how to read. In his essay "The Ends of Man," Derrida does a
good job of showing how the sort of proclomation like Foucault's in OT do
not really move beyond anthropology. If it is true that Foucault
accepted Derrida's argument, instead of surpassing man he would be more
likely to work, as Derrida would put it, "from the 'inside,' where 'we'
are"--i.e. from within the self, where one can only perform
deconstructions or genealogies, perhaps even recreations, of the "self."

I have an essay somewhere that gives specific examples about the way in
which Foucault maintains the same sort of "man" discussed in OT in his
later work, putting that "man's" limitations to positive use. I would
think about making this available if anyone is interested.

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


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