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Literary Criticism Class #7. Michel Foucault Michel Foucault (1926-1984) (1926-1984)

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Literary Literary Criticism Criticism Class #7 Class #7
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Literary Literary CriticismCriticism

Class #7Class #7

Michel FoucaultMichel Foucault (1926-1984)(1926-1984)

InfluencesInfluences: post-structuralism,: post-structuralism, New Historicism, cultural studie New Historicism, cultural studies, queer theory, literature and ms, queer theory, literature and medicine, institutional bases of wredicine, institutional bases of writers and critics, identity formatiiters and critics, identity formation. on. (Norton 1615)(Norton 1615)

Edward SaidEdward Said: : Orientalism, or Orientalism, or Western discourse of the EastWestern discourse of the East

19611961 Madness and CivilizationMadness and Civilization 19631963 The Birth of the ClinicThe Birth of the Clinic 1966 1966 The Order of ThingsThe Order of Things 19691969 The Archaeology of The Archaeology of

KnowledgeKnowledge 19751975 Discipline and Punish: The Discipline and Punish: The

Birth of the PrisonBirth of the Prison 19761976 The History of SexualityThe History of Sexuality

Key TermsKey Terms

Discourse (1)Discourse (1)

Briefly, “language as it is used by aBriefly, “language as it is used by and within various constituencies (thnd within various constituencies (the law, medicine, the church, for exae law, medicine, the church, for example) for purposes to do with powemple) for purposes to do with power relationships between people.” r relationships between people.”

(Wolfreys 65)(Wolfreys 65) Discourse = ideology in action Discourse = ideology in action (Dobie 170)(Dobie 170)

Discourse (2)Discourse (2)

““Human Human subjectivitysubjectivity and and identityidentity itself i itself is produced out of various discursive fors produced out of various discursive formations as a result of the subject’s entmations as a result of the subject’s entry into ry into languagelanguage.”.”

LanguageLanguage is “always already shot throu is “always already shot through and informed by figurations and encrgh and informed by figurations and encryptions of power . . . relationships and nyptions of power . . . relationships and networks.” etworks.” (Wolfreys 66)(Wolfreys 66)

Discourse (3)Discourse (3)

Through discourse, knowledge = power.Through discourse, knowledge = power. ““Discourse disposes: it puts everything Discourse disposes: it puts everything

in its place. Modern power penetrates evin its place. Modern power penetrates everywhere, giving a specific name to evererywhere, giving a specific name to every possible variant of human action so as y possible variant of human action so as to master the world and leave nothing uto master the world and leave nothing unexamined, unknown, uncatalogued.” nexamined, unknown, uncatalogued.” (Norton 1619)(Norton 1619)

Discursive FormationDiscursive Formation

The “principle of dispersion anThe “principle of dispersion and redistribution” of discourse d redistribution” of discourse

““A structurally interactive flow A structurally interactive flow serving, inescapably, a political serving, inescapably, a political or ideological function”or ideological function”

(Wolfreys 69)(Wolfreys 69)

EpistemeEpisteme Deep-rooted, unconscious structures Deep-rooted, unconscious structures

for organizing knowledge.for organizing knowledge. (Norton 1616)(Norton 1616) The rules and constraints outside whThe rules and constraints outside wh

ich individuals cannot think or speak ich individuals cannot think or speak without running the risk of being exclwithout running the risk of being excluded or silenced. uded or silenced.

(Dobie 170)(Dobie 170)

Genealogy (1)Genealogy (1)

Describing the present Describing the present through an analysis of the through an analysis of the forces that created it. forces that created it. (Norton (Norton 1616)1616)

  Genealogy does not claim to Genealogy does not claim to be more true than be more true than institutionalized knowledge, institutionalized knowledge, but merely to be the missing but merely to be the missing part of the puzzle.  part of the puzzle. 

http://www.california.com/~rathbone/foucau10.htmhttp://www.california.com/~rathbone/foucau10.htm

Genealogy (2)Genealogy (2) It works by isolating the central It works by isolating the central

components of some current day components of some current day political mechanism and then traces political mechanism and then traces it back to its historical roots. These it back to its historical roots. These historical roots are visible to us only historical roots are visible to us only through through twotwo separate bodies of separate bodies of genealogical knowledge: the genealogical knowledge: the dissentdissenting opinions and theories that ing opinions and theories that did not become the established and did not become the established and the the locallocal beliefs and understandings. beliefs and understandings. http://www.california.com/~rathbone/foucau10.htmhttp://www.california.com/~rathbone/foucau10.htm

PowerPower DepersonalizedDepersonalized: Power does not bel: Power does not bel

ong to anyone, nor does it all emanong to anyone, nor does it all emanate from one specific location, such ate from one specific location, such as the state. as the state.

DecenteredDecentered: Rather, power is diffuse: Rather, power is diffused throughout the “capillaries” d throughout the “capillaries” (( 毛毛細管細管 )) of the social system. of the social system.

(Norton 1618)(Norton 1618)

Power/KnowledgePower/Knowledge

The production of knowledge is The production of knowledge is wedded to productive power. wedded to productive power. Modern power requires Modern power requires increasingly narrow categories increasingly narrow categories through which it analyzes, through which it analyzes, differentiates, identifies, and differentiates, identifies, and administers individuals. administers individuals. (Norton (Norton 1620)1620)

Body PoliticsBody Politics Power operates through the daily disciplPower operates through the daily discipl

ines and routines to which bodies are suines and routines to which bodies are subjected. bjected. (Norton 1618)(Norton 1618)

Why is Foucault a post-structuraliWhy is Foucault a post-structuralist?st?

By focusing on the larger By focusing on the larger systematic social forces, systematic social forces, Foucault highlights the Foucault highlights the social construction of the social construction of the ‘subject’ and thereby ‘subject’ and thereby deconstructs the self. deconstructs the self. (Norton 1617)(Norton 1617)

Anti-humanismAnti-humanismHe objects to humanism, esp. its He objects to humanism, esp. its

claim that “we are ‘individualclaim that “we are ‘individuals’ with unique nature, possessis’ with unique nature, possessing coherent interior identities, ng coherent interior identities, motives, desires, and conscious motives, desires, and conscious intentions.” intentions.”

(Norton 1617)(Norton 1617)

Counter-enlightenmentCounter-enlightenment Connected the rise of the individual with Connected the rise of the individual with

“a tremendous decrease in freedom.”“a tremendous decrease in freedom.” ““In each case, an institution demands, In each case, an institution demands,

examines and watches over all subjects, examines and watches over all subjects, and punishes deviants.”and punishes deviants.”

Such a society is prisonlike, or “carceraSuch a society is prisonlike, or “carceral”.l”.

(Norton 1618)(Norton 1618)

Anti-MarxismAnti-Marxism Foucault contends that since power Foucault contends that since power

operates in innumerable places and operates in innumerable places and taking many different forms, there is taking many different forms, there is no single privileged place for the no single privileged place for the political activist to go to work, no political activist to go to work, no locus of power whose removal will locus of power whose removal will bring the whole system tumbling bring the whole system tumbling down. down. (Norton 1618)(Norton 1618)

New Historicism (1)New Historicism (1) New Historicism gives “equal New Historicism gives “equal

weighting” to literary and non-weighting” to literary and non-literary material literary material (Barry 174).(Barry 174).

It is “a mode of study in which It is “a mode of study in which literary and non-literary texts are literary and non-literary texts are given equal weight and given equal weight and constantly inform or interrogate constantly inform or interrogate each other” each other” (Barry 172).(Barry 172).

New Historicism (2)New Historicism (2) Old Historicism:Old Historicism:

(1) (1) Were the characters based on real peWere the characters based on real people?ople?

(2) (2) Do the events recounted in the text re-Do the events recounted in the text re-create experiences from the author’s licreate experiences from the author’s life?fe?

(3) (3) Does the text capture the spirit of the Does the text capture the spirit of the times accurately?times accurately? (Dobie 167)(Dobie 167)

New Historicism (3)New Historicism (3) New Historicism:New Historicism:

How does the text reveal and How does the text reveal and comment on the disparate dicomment on the disparate discourses of the culture it depiscourses of the culture it depicts?cts? (Dobie 167)(Dobie 167)

Food for Thought (1)Food for Thought (1)

What did you learn in What did you learn in kindergarten?kindergarten?

Food for Thought (2)Food for Thought (2)

What are you told to What are you told to do when you go to do when you go to the hospital?the hospital?

Food for Thought (3)Food for Thought (3)

Foucault argues that “modern Foucault argues that “modern societies intervene from day one societies intervene from day one to shape, train, and normalize into shape, train, and normalize individuals” dividuals” (Norton 1618).(Norton 1618). Do you a Do you agree? What social institutions hagree? What social institutions have been involved in doing this to ve been involved in doing this to you?you?

Food for Thought (4)Food for Thought (4)

What information would What information would you hold back from your you hold back from your CC teacher? How about CC teacher? How about your boss?your boss?

Questions to Ask of a Text Questions to Ask of a Text (1)(1)

What various discourses do you meet in tWhat various discourses do you meet in the text?he text?

Which ones are powerful?Which ones are powerful? Which represent the experience of people Which represent the experience of people

who have traditionally been overlooked, who have traditionally been overlooked, marginalized, or misrepresented?marginalized, or misrepresented?

What conflicts do you discern in the text bWhat conflicts do you discern in the text between the discourse of the powerful and etween the discourse of the powerful and that of the powerless? that of the powerless? (Dobie 180)(Dobie 180)

Questions to Ask of a Text Questions to Ask of a Text (2)(2)

What are the social rules observed in the text?What are the social rules observed in the text? Is the text critical of them? Or does it treat theIs the text critical of them? Or does it treat the

m as models of behavior?m as models of behavior? How does this text support or challenge the vaHow does this text support or challenge the va

lues, beliefs, and/or practices of the culture it lues, beliefs, and/or practices of the culture it depicts?depicts?

How does the ideological stance imply about tHow does the ideological stance imply about the culture it depicts, that of the author’s timhe culture it depicts, that of the author’s time, and that of subsequent periods? e, and that of subsequent periods? (Dobie 1(Dobie 180)80)

Michel FoucaultMichel Foucault “ “The Carceral.” The Carceral.” Discipline and Punish: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.The Birth of the Prison.

http://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/engl/theory/newhistoricism/modules/foucaultcarceralmainframe.html

Jeremy Bentham's ninJeremy Bentham's nineteenth-century prison:eteenth-century prison:The "Panopticon" The "Panopticon"

Prison cell

Prison school

http://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/engl/theory/newhistoricism/modules/foucaultcarceralmainframe.html

(Fludernik 44)

ReferencesReferences

Dobie, Ann B. Dobie, Ann B. Theory into PracticeTheory into Practice. Thomson/. Thomson/Heinle, 2002.Heinle, 2002.

Fludernik, Monica. “Carceral Topography: SpFludernik, Monica. “Carceral Topography: Spatiality, Liminality, and Corporeal in the Literaatiality, Liminality, and Corporeal in the Literary Prison.”ry Prison.”Textual PracticeTextual Practice, 1999 Spring; 13 , 1999 Spring; 13 (1): 43-77. (1): 43-77.

Leitch, Vincent B, ed. Leitch, Vincent B, ed. The Norton Anthology of The Norton Anthology of Theory and CriticismTheory and Criticism. 2001.. 2001.

Wolfreys, Julian. Wolfreys, Julian. Critical Keywords in Literary Critical Keywords in Literary and Cultural Theoryand Cultural Theory. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.


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