Re: [Foucault-L] Genealogy Archaeology Divide

Hi Jared

One last point before I shut up and let you digest all of this...

I though it might be useful to give some examples of Foucault recasting his previous studies in light of his current interests, as this seems pertinent to your question..

1 . In the English translation of The Order of Things there are two ‘Prefaces:’ one from the original French, the other written specifically for the English translation. In the original French Foucault tells us that ‘in every culture, between the use of what one might call the ordering codes and reflections upon itself, there is the pure experience of order and its mode of being. The present study is an attempt to analyse that experience’ (OT: xxi); where as in the ‘Forward to the English addition,’ we are told that it is a study that attempt to ‘reveal a positive unconscious of knowledge: a level that eludes the consciousness of the scientist and yet is part of scientific discourse’ (OT: xi). Thus we have a subtle shift from an analysis of an experience to an analysis of discourse. The first preface predate Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge, the second preface recast the work in light of The Archaeology of Knowledge.

2. In an interview in Power/Knowledge, Foucault states that ‘[w]hen I think back now, I ask myself what else it was I was talking about in [History of Madness] or The Birth of the Clinic, but power. Yet I’m perfectly aware that I scarcely ever used the word and never had such a field of analysis at my disposal’ (P/K: 115). Thus Foucault recasts these works in light of the analysis undertaken in Discipline and Punish.

3. I cannot remember the exact source for this, but somewhere Foucault also situates all his previous works prior to the 80s in terms of problematisations and again states that it was scarcely articulated but none the less present.

The question is, how are we to read these recastings of earlier works in light of current concerns. Three types of reading some possible.

a. seeing Foucault as trying to place coherence on a project that is inherently incoherent.
b. seeing Foucault as realising that he was always talking about discourse, about power, or about problematisations.
c. seeing Foucault as observing that it was in the previous works that the problem of discourse or power or problematisations began to show forth.

The first reading is often used by detractors of Foucault since it is much easier to criticise someone’s work if it is represented as being essentially incoherent.
The second reading can fall pray to a kind of flattening out of discourse, of power, and of problematisations, as if these were always of the same form.
The third reading, and the one that I obviously prefer, allows for a more complex picture of the development of Foucault work to appear.

regards - K

> -----Original Message-----
> From: jaredkennard@xxxxxxxxx
> Sent: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 23:36:05 -0600
> To: foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [Foucault-L] Genealogy Archaeology Divide
> This question may seem a bit naive but I will ask it anyway. I have been
> doing some research on Foucault's genealogy and archaeology and have come
> to
> the conclusion that in the course of his work the latter is more or less
> replaced by the former. I began my inquiry with the understanding that
> the
> early works of Foucault were conducted under a sort of rubric of
> archaeology, as he lays out in various places. It seems, however, that
> he
> finds this method unsatisfactory and moves to the genealogical method
> instead. My problem is that in stead of a clean break or clear
> differentiation between the two methodologies he seems to simply recast
> his
> works as works of genealogy instead of archaeology. In the interview he
> gave with Rabinow and Dreyfus entitled "On the Genealogy of Ethics" he
> states that: "three domains of genealogy are possible," and that "all
> three
> were Madness and Civilization." Furthermore, The Birth of
> the
> Clinic and The Order of Things studied one of these three axis, while
> Discipline and Punish and History of Sexuality Studied the other two.
> With
> out getting into the specifics of what these three possibilities are,
> since
> that doesn't seem relevant to the problem at hand, it does seem quite
> obvious that he is brushing over earlier statements he has made about his
> early works being archaeology's; or perhaps he is attempting to apply a
> sort
> of discursive eraser.
> Ultimately my problem boils down to this: if what I have said above is
> correct than where, if anywhere, does he talk about this move he has
> made?
> Has archaeology been removed as an analytical tool due to the problems
> this
> methodology creates? And if so in what ways does genealogy differ from
> its
> predecessor? How is it that the genealogical form can simply replace the
> archaeological one?
> Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
> Jared
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> Foucault-L mailing list

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[Foucault-L] Genealogy Archaeology Divide, Jared Kennard
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