Re: Foucault and pragmatism, q&a

In a message dated 4/28/01 10:14:46 AM Eastern Daylight Time, porkjoy@xxxxxxx

> also, what is the function of a theoretical discourse (or rhetoric, in the
> sense of burke) which relies less on persuasion and more on identification?
> if these discourses work to create an orientation (or re-orient), can they
> be considered negligible? how could one even measure their effect?

In most discussions of Foucault, the content is usually lost. The essential
questions are not why is domination exercised. Many philosophers have
answered this satisfactorily. Foucault is addressing the problem of how
domination works.
Much of what he writes about is understood as abstract technique, for
example, his understanding of prison construction, clinical diagnostic
procedures, etc. But, the main idea that Foucault is always addressing is
how the techniques work, how does power put one side above another and in
turn form a resistance to it.

Charles Taylor writes a wonderful criticism of Foucault where he states the
reasons why Foucault is unacceptable. Foucault understands the chestnut in
the problem of sexual identity. Heterosexual values are forced upon us and
bisexual and homosexual values are restricted. Perhaps, the term values is
not exact enough - heterosexual settings are forced upon us and bisexual and
homosexual settings are restricted. The manner in which this occurs is local
and therefore varies from location to location and from historical period to
period. Taylor levels the charge at Foucault that he claims that the enemy
(the power) is heterosexuality and the resistance is therefore homosexuality
and that the direction of history is the usurping of heterosexuality! Taylor
finds this disastrous because of the problem of the survivial of the human
race if heterosexuality is undermined, but he also recoils at the intentional
adoption of a homosexual attitude!

Putting the content of Foucault's project forward in terms of the
gay-straight knot
does not explicate the myriad forms that this conflict takes where
heterosexual settings castigate homosexuals and homosexual settings and
functions discipline and upset heterosexuals' dispositions. But, where
Foucault discusses at length the notion of strategies of discipline he is
usually referring this kind of problem.


Partial thread listing: