Re: Death of Man/Anthropology

I think that the anthropological "Man" of OT, and the "self-subjectivizing"
individual of Foucault's later works are two different creatures. The
"Man" in OT is a metaphorical figure; constructed in tension by the
human sciences as an object of knowledge and a seeker of that knowledge.
In other words, the human sciences produce "Man" as an empirically
verifiable entity, and, at the same time, the human sciences produce
an ongoing critical inquiry into the empirical conditions that justify
"Man's" existence. Hence we get the double development of "Man" as an
empirical and a transcendental entity.

For me the importance of this "doubling" effect is that positivist
and naturalist approaches share common ground with dialectical and
critical ones; thus "Man" is a strategic space of knowledge whereby
a number of discourses intersect and produce an unstable affinity
that becomes the overarching episteme of "Man." Is "Man" male?
I would say yes, as does R. Braidotti's important critique where
she insightfully says, "could it be that Man, in his historical
exhaustion, is
female companion as she becomes emancipated. Will this new Woman
be Man's future?" (_Patterns of Dissonance_, p.10). What a great

In any case, Foucault's development of the figure of Man is a figure
of knowledge, discourse, and human science passion; his configurations
of selfhood, on the other hand, have more to do with the ways in which
power and ethical relations become enfolded into a person's concept of
themself. I know this is a simplification, but I'm not convinced that
"anthropology" is the bridge that connects OT and later work, or that
for Foucault, there is any evolution of "Man" beyond OT.

Stephen Katz,
Trent University.


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