File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9810, message 65

Subject: Re: Archaeology and Genealogy
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 12:22:38 -0000


I am assuming you are familiar with the central texts Foucault wrote on
archaeology and genealogy (Order of Things; Archaeology of Knowledge; Order
of Discourse; Nietzsche, Genealogy, History, etc.) and are looking for more
obscure references.


archaeology looks at truth as 'a system of ordered procedures for the
production, regulation, distribution, circulation, and operation of
statements', whilst genealogy sees truth as 'linked in a circular relation
with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power
which it induces and which extends it' (see Dits et ecrits, Vol III, p160,
Foucault Reader p74).

Foucault's genealogical period works are more explicitly political, the
language used moves from terms taken from literature to a more militaristic
vocabulary, and he (more than before) makes explicit links between discourse
and practice. The analysis of knowledge in earlier works moves to a shift to
power/knowledge. This is shown in his shift from the analysis of epistemes
to dispositifs. On this, see Vol I of the History of Sexuality, and the
interview 'The Confession of the Flesh' (in DE , Vol III; Power/Knowledge).

The divide is not that of an either/or but rather a both/and. Indeed, I
would suggest Foucault's earlier works (notably Histoire de la folie) were
implicitly genealogical, trading on Nietzsche's understanding of history,
and shaping by Heidegger's notion of historical ontology. Foucault's
connaissance/savoir parallels Heidegger's ontic/ontological. The original
preface to Folie et deraison: Histoire de la folie suggested that the study
was taken under the influence of the Birth of Tragedy. And then, right at
the end of his career (the later volumes of the Hist of Sex and the What is
Enlightenment? lectures), Foucault talks of undertaking (historical)
ontologies, which are both archaeological and genealogical (see DE vol IV,
p574; FR 45-6).

Hope these are some useful pointers.

Best wishes



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