> Perhaps it is *ironic* that there resulted such a large industry of
> theorising and a smaller industry applying his methods. I'm not sure
> it's paradoxical, though, and I'm almost certain that such a response is
> neither surprising nor unwarranted.
Yes, I take your points here. I would still be inclined to say that
there is a paradox also, at least in that body of work which is broadly
supportive of Foucault of course.
> Foucault proposes a fairly new "theory" (of power, the subject,
> whatever), one that goes very very deep. Now, what should people do in
> response? Should they accept his work, without hesitation or after
> cursory and superficial examination? Or should they - and should
> Foucault encourage them to - submit that work to thorough and rigorous
Yes, I would agree with this. However, the question is on what level we
conduct this analysis, on the level of a general theory of
power/subjectivity, etc. or in relation to the rigour of concrete
analyses. I would suggest that the latter is both more feasible and
appropriate. As far as the former goes, I'm not sure how it can proceed
beyond an analysis of Foucault's methods, since I'm not convinced that
there is a theory of power per se.
> Foucault was calling for nothing less than a paradigm shift, and to me a
> large part of his work suggests that such paradigm shifts are not simply
> the result of mere choices to believe X rather than Y. I take it that
> for Foucault, X (or Y...) wasn't just an idea to Foucault, to be taken
> off or put on like a shirt, but rather that X was
> in some way descriptive of one's subjectivity for him. I don't recall
> Foucault ever implying or suggesting explicitly that "we" are any more
> capable of rising out of / above / beyond our way of thinking so easily
> than was any other generation caught in these disciplines he describes.
> So, far from it being paradoxical that the bulk of scholarship that has
> resulted from Foucault's work is theory rather than application, it
> would be paradoxical if "we" all did what Foucault said was largely not
> in our...ummmm....*power* to do.
Can I ask you to clarify what you mean here, I'm not sure I'm following
it. Are you suggesting that we cannot avoid theorising because our
current episteme condemns us to it?
Murray K. Simpson,
Department of Social Work,
The University of Dundee,
Dundee DD1 4HN,
tel. 01382 344948
fax. 01382 221512