Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English

On Sun, 16 Sep 2007 11:52:33 +0200
"Frank Ejby Poulsen" <frank.ejby.poulsen@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I am a French native speaker currently writing in English an "archaeology"
> of a political idea using Foucault's method. I came across the same problem
> with the English translation of Foucault's word "énoncé". However, I must
> say that the French word did not give me more clues. However, "statement" is
> not so good a translation because I believe that the etymological meaning of
> "énoncé" is lost. The word "statement" does not carry the same etymological
> luggage.

According to "statement" means sentence - a grammatical
concept far from Foucault's meaning of "l'énoncé". But, it also denotes
declaring something. That is close to Foucault's special meaning of the
word. "Enouncement" also has the declaring meaning, but it also means
enunciation, which was not the meaning of "l'énoncé" that Foucault
referred to in l'archeologie.

I think "enouncement" is the best because it draws the attention away
from at grammatical understanding, and because the use of "enouncement"
instead of the more common "enunciation" suggests that something
special is on the agenda. But, I am not speaking native English, so I
don't have the perfect feeling of the language. Therefore, I would be
happy to have others comments.


> So the énoncé is a function of existence of signs from which the analyst has
> to decide, according to intuition or the analysis itself, if they "make
> sense" or not, and according to what rule they follow each others or are
> next to each other, and what sort of acts are affected by their formulation
> (oral or written).
> One has to note that Foucault is here inconsistent in his suggested
> methodology with the critics he made concerning the anthropological bias of
> other methods in the history of ideas. Although Foucault's method avoids
> trying to find out what an author meant in his text, there is still an
> element of appreciation from the part of the archaeologist, although
> displaced from the authors' texts to what énoncés are: the archaeologist
> must look at signs and decide according to his/her "analysis or intuition"
> if these signs "make sense".

I don't think Foucault is inconsistent on this point: The context that
the enouncement includes, is a social reality that you have to adopt if
you want to understand others and to be understood. Since the
enouncement context is abundant in historical texts too, you can - at
least to some extent - read yourself into the historical meaning of
historical texts without having to interpret them. The archeologist
does not decide if the signs make sense, but tries to understand how
they actually MADE sense in the past.


[Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English, Frank Ejby Poulsen
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