RE: social construction & realism

Dear Will

Some critical realists engage with Foucault. See in particular Richard
Marsden's The Nature of Capital: Marx after Foucault, London, Routledge, 1999.
Essentially, he argues that Foucault can be read as a realist, and as a
supplement to Marx.

There was also a paper presented at the 1999 Critical Realist conference on
Foucault and realism. Can't remember who it was, but think it was by a
postgraduate student.

Bob Jessop, a neo-Marxist state theorist, whose philosophical position is
critical realist, also engages with Foucault (alongside Poulantzas), in his
book State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in its Place, Cambridge,
Polity, 1990.

But away from Foucault specifically, critical realists do hold onto an
ontological realism but have a social constructivist view of epistemology. See
Andrew Sayer (2000) Realism and Social Science, London: Sage. Sayer adopts a
'moderate constructivism', and distinguishes between 'construction' and


-----Original Message-----
From: Will Napier [mailto:will@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: 09 November 2002 15:45
To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: social construction & realism

Hi this is my first post to this list - only just begun to read Foucault (so
far Clinic, Madness, half of Order).

Is it possible to have a social constructionist view of epistemology and yet
hold to an ontological realism? Conceptually I guess it is, but does anyone?

Will Napier

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