Re: discourse

If this is a correct reading of Foucault's notion of discourse and
poststructuralism in general. Then it is clearly an idealism of some kind:
conceptual, linguistic, who knows? But to construe it as simply an
epistmological position fails to see how epistemology is secreting an
ontology based on human experience and/or practice. It's anthropocentic.
Count me out.

>Dear John Banks,
>Yes indeed, discourse is a kind of practice; it is, as Foucault says a
>>regulated practice< or a >practice of regulated statements< (Foucault,
Archeology of knowledge, 1973 (in German; I don't know when it was
>translated into English) or affirmative propositions. And contrary to
>language it constructs its object itself. There is no simple
>relationsship or bondage between the facts and the words, but between
>the things and the words there are rules (which are arosen by a
>scientific or regulative >police<; Foucault himself called it >police<
>who controls the discourse). These rules define the >domination< of the
>object. There is no reality to which a discourse tries to correspond but
>the discourse itself constitutes reality. That is to say, the discourses
>construct the object which they are talking of, not the other way round!
>And this aspect is most important for the discussion about Butler,
>because she says that it is by discourses that the body and its
>-biological- sex is constituted and that the body materializes
>through/by discourses. It's merely an epistemological position which is,
>as far as I can see, very often misunderstood.So, theis epistemological
>position inplicates that the object talked of by discourses doesn't
>exist out of discourse positions. Judith Butler assumes with Foucault
>that discourses are historically specific positions/organized forms of
>language which produce specific modalities of discourse positions.
>This is the meaning of discourse in the poststructuralist discourse
>theory (above all,of Foucault). There is still another position, namely
>that of Juergen Habermas and the Critical Theory who defines discourse
>as an intersubjective way of communication which enables people to
>resist or confront themwelves against 'frozen' power relationsships und
>power structures and eventually to dissolve those structures.
>I hope you can better understand the argues now....
>Hannelore Bublitz


Colin Wight
Department of International Politics
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
SY23 3DA


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