Re: [Foucault-L] Translation of énoncé to English

I agree that it's not a very helpful translation, largely because -- if I understand the French correctly -- enonce has a more 'active' character than statement. I'm not sure, however, that it's Foucault's invention. Lacan was using the same term at that time (see, for Example, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis) and it was similarly translated into English as 'statement'. I'm not sure which book was translated first, but whichever one it was could have set the precedent for the other.


Dr. Nathan Widder
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX


From: foucault-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxx on behalf of lister@xxxxxxxxx
Sent: Fri 14/09/2007 13:36
To: foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Foucault-L] Translation of énoncé to English

I have for a long time felt uneasy with the translation of French "énoncé" to English "statement" in the translation of for instance "The Archeology of Knowledge". It seems to me that "statement" is much closer the term like "frase" and "sentence" than "énoncé", which is definitely not what Foucault writes about in the archeology. Therefore, "statement" incites to misunderstandings of Foucault's concept.

Would "enouncement" not be better? Though "enouncement" has a too formal and declaring sense, it emphasises that some meaning is expressed, and draws attention away for the linguistic aspects.

(Off course, the basic problem is that Foucault coined a new concept.)


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