Re: foucault-digest V2 #411

I would have a couple of short responses to this.

First, F. did not completely seek obscure his "marginal status" (as a
homosexual or whatever). He gave a number of interviews to gay newspapers
(The Advocate, Gai Pied), talked about what "we" gays might or not do,
knowledgeably discussed the gay ghetto in San Francisco, advocated and
admitted taking drugs, and even confessed to liking club sandwiches.

More seriously, the criticisms of Foucault being difficult to pin down make
it sound like he was denying his own positionality (which now just needs to
be revealed to know the truth about him!). I wouldn't put it quite like
that. I think it would be a better understanding to see that he was always
trying to undermine or play truth games with the rigidity of the self. Hence
techniques of the self, hence self-writing, hence the self as a creative

For the record, F. says that he has probably been in most the squares on the
political checkboard because of the way he works, which is not to critique
something in order to show the superiority of the right approach, but rather
to "problematise" his questions, (interview with Rabinow) ie his archaeology
and genealogy. So this aspect of F. (his positionality) is not just some
epiphenomenon but a consequence of his work in general.


> 'Both David Carroll and Sherry Simon have critiqued Foucault's discussion
> transgression on the grounds that it refuses to articulate the position
> which he speaks, a problem often raised by critical attempts to "place"
> Foucault. In A Preface to Transgression Foucault's explicit investment in
> "losing" or transgressing his own philosophical and discursive position
> raises the problem most acutely. Carroll writes that, in identifying with
> collapsing the distance between himself and his privileged "disruptive
> discourses" (what I have outlined as Foucault's attempt to lose himself in
> Bataille's loss), Foucault lightens his load and frees himself of the more
> tedious but still necessary task of carrying his own critical weight and
> assuming the philosophical-political consequences of his critical
> perspective. I have seen Foucault's effacement of the writing subject's
> position as particularly symptomatic of this difficulty.... In focusing
> a self-loss that is perpetually deferred as long as he continues to
> Foucault finesses and obscures the position he remains in while writing.'
> (Judith Surkis (1996) No Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye:
> Transgression and Masculinity in Bataille and Foucault (Diacritics Vol 26
> 2 Summer 1996 p.29).
> This seems to me to be a similar criticism of Foucault's writing as the
> grievance expressed by Guibert. Though Surkis's complaint is that Foucault
> ignores the 'female partner' in Bataille's writing in Eroticism, similarly
> Guibert expresses regret (?) at Foucault's refusal to describe (for
> in a Blanchotesque style?) the loss of the male object of homosexual

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