Re: structural v. nietzschean genealogy

On Sun, 3 Dec 1995, John Ransom wrote:

> In his _Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist_, (Harvard, ISBN #
> 0-674-62442-4) David Berkowitz criticizes Foucault's treatment of
> genealogy as follows:
> [I]f genealogy consists in the careful gathering of vast source
> material and patient attention to detail as Foucault says it does,
> ....
> but rather a tall tale masquerading as a faithful and accurate
> restatement. (pp. 68-69)
> The possibility Dr. Berkowitz raises, though in a very awkward and
> backhanded manner, is that F and N are not the same kinds of
> genealogists. Berkowitz assumes that not-being-like-Nietzsche is a bad
> ....
> I was wondering if perhaps other list members had thoughts on the
> relative competence of the two authors to practice "genealogy," which of
> course raises the whole question of what "genealogy" is.

On the other hand, Berkowitz might be said to fail to see the forest for
the trees. Genealogy, for Foucault, is indeed all of the things that
Berkowitz points out, including patient attention to detail, etc., but on
its most basic level it is what Foucault, in Discipline and Punish,
refers to as a history of the present. What Nietzsche and Foucault both
share is the spirit of Nietzsche's appelation in "Vom Nutzen und Nachteil
der Historie fuer das Leben" to make history serve life, to be a true
monumentalist and not be afraid to create a new history which serves the
present, using those elements of the past which are necessary and useful
and forgetting the rest. I don't think anyone could deny that both
Foucualt and Nietzsche share this guiding philosophy of historiography.
I haven't really read enough on genealogy (though I intend to) but I
would propose that questions of methodology would have to take a back
seat to the overriding directive in all genealogy to piece together a
past (with or without meticulous citations or details) that explains the


Version: 2.6.2i



Partial thread listing: