Michel foucault on discourse

Truth and Power In "Truth and Power" Michel Foucault revisits the major theoretical trends and questions of his career. He is a thinker who knows no bounds of subject or field. His ideas stretch from literature to science, from psychology to labor. He deals in a currency that is accepted everywhere:

Michel foucault on discourse

Post Structuralism By the mid 20th century there were a number of structural theories of human existence. In the study of language, the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure suggested that meaning was to be found within the structure of a whole language rather than in the analysis of individual words.

Annotated Extracts from Michel Foucault in chronological order and related to history

For Marxists, the truth of human existence could be understood by an analysis of economic structures. Psychoanalysts attempted to describe the structure of the psyche in terms of an unconscious. In the 's, the structuralist movement, based in France, attempted to synthesise the ideas of Marx, Freud and Saussure.

They disagreed with the existentialists' claim that each man is what he makes himself. Originally labelled a structuralist, the French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault came to be seen as the most important representative of the post-structuralist movement.

He agreed that language and society were shaped by rule governed systems, but he disagreed with the structuralists on two counts. Firstly, he did not think that there were definite underlying structures that could explain the human condition and secondly he thought that it was impossible to step outside of discourse and survey the situation objectively.

Jacques Derrida developed deconstruction as a technique for uncovering the multiple interpretation of texts. Influenced by Heidegger and Nietzsche, Derrida suggests that all text has ambiguity and because of this the possibility of a final and complete interpretation is impossible.

In a sense, Foucault’s Berkeley lectures crystalized his life’s work. Just above, in his final Berkeley lecture series, “Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of Parrhesia,” Foucault delivers what may be the most plain-spoken statement of his general thesis: “My intention was not to deal with the problem of truth, but with the problem of the truth-teller or truth-telling as an. Discourse (from Latin discursus, "running to and from") denotes written and spoken communications. In semantics and discourse analysis: Discourse is a conceptual generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication.; The totality of codified language (vocabulary) used in a given field of intellectual enquiry and of social practice, such as legal discourse, medical. Michel Foucault: Michel Foucault, French philosopher and historian, one of the most influential and controversial scholars of the post-World War II period. The son and grandson of a physician, Michel Foucault was born to a solidly bourgeois family. He resisted what .

Post-modernism Post-structuralism and deconstruction can be seen as the theoretical formulations of the post-modern condition. Modernity, which began intellectually with the Enlightenment, attempted to describe the world in rational, empirical and objective terms.

It assumed that there was a truth to be uncovered, a way of obtaining answers to the question posed by the human condition.

Biographical Sketch

Post-modernism does not exhibit this confidence, gone are the underlying certainties that reason promised. Reason itself is now seen as a particular historical form, as parochial in its own way as the ancient explanations of the universe in terms of Gods. The postmodern subject has no rational way to evaluate a preference in relation to judgements of truth, morality, aesthetic experience or objectivity.

As the old hierarchies of thought are torn down, a new clearing is formed on the frontiers of understanding: Foucault attempted to analyse the 'discursive practices' or serious speech acts that lay claim to revealing knowledge.

Rather than analyse these discursive practices in terms of their truth, he analyses them in terms of their history or genesis. He claimed that he was attempting to do an 'archaeology' of knowledge, to show the history of truth claims.

Michel foucault on discourse

In his latter work, he borrowed from Nietzsche the 'genealogical' approach and from Marx his analyses of ideology. Foucault sought to show how the development of knowledge was intertwined with the mechanisms of political power.

Unlike Marx, Foucault had no underlying belief in a deep underlying truth or structure: Foucault focused on the way that knowledge and the increase of the power of the state over the individual has developed in the modern era. In his 'History of Sexuality' he argued that the rise of medical and psychiatric science has created a discourse of sexuality as deep, instinctual and mysterious.

This discourse became accepted as the dominant explanation, and its assumptions began to seep into the discourse of the everyday.

In this way the human subjects's experience of their own sexuality is shaped and controlled by the discourses that purport to explain it.

Michel foucault on discourse

The search for knowledge does not simply uncover pre-existing 'objects'; it actively shapes and creates them. Foucault does not offer any all-embracing theory of human nature.

He was critical of 'meta-theory': For Foucault there is no ultimate answer waiting to be uncovered. The 'discursive practices' of knowledge are not independent of the objects that are studied, and must be understood in their social and political context.

Deconstruction For Derrida, language or 'texts' are not a natural reflection of the world. Text structures our interpretation of the world. Following Heidegger, Derrida thinks that language shapes us: Derrida sees the history of western thought as based on opposition: These oppositions are defined hierarchically: Derrida thought that all text contained a legacy of these assumptions, and as a result of this, these texts could be re-interpreted with an awareness of the hierarchies implicit in language.

Derrida does not think that we can reach an end point of interpretation, a truth. For Derrida all text s exhibit 'differance': Meaning is diffuse, not settled. Textuality always gives us a surplus of possibilities, yet we cannot stand outside of textuality in an attempt to find objectivity.

One consequence of deconstruction is that certainty in textual analyses becomes impossible.Die sogenannte Kritische Diskursanalyse (zum Beispiel Jürgen Link und Siegfried Jäger) schließt aus marxistischer Perspektive an den Diskursbegriff von Foucault an.

Diskurs bedeutet hier die institutionalisierte gesellschaftliche Redeweise, die das Handeln der Menschen bestimmt. Gegenstand sind dabei sowohl die Form als auch der Inhalt von .

Michel Foucault: Ethics. The French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault () does not understand ethics as moral philosophy, the metaphysical and epistemological investigation of ethical concepts (metaethics) and the investigation of the criteria for evaluating actions (normative ethics), as Anglo-American philosophers do.

. Michel Foucault (–) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. He has had strong influence not only (or even primarily) in philosophy but also in a wide range of humanistic and social scientific disciplines. Key Concept The idea of discourse constitutes a central element of Michel Foucault’s oeuvre, and one of the most readily appropriated Foucaultian terms.

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Foucault, Michel: Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Madness, sexuality, power, knowledge—are these facts of life or simply parts of speech? In a series of works of astonishing brilliance. Foucault: power is everywhere. Michel Foucault, the French postmodernist, has been hugely influential in shaping understandings of power, leading away from the analysis of actors who use power as an instrument of coercion, and even away from the discreet structures in which those actors operate, toward the idea that ‘power is everywhere’, diffused and embodied in discourse.

Human Nature: Justice versus Power