File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9812, message 27

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 13:17:42 +0100
Subject: Re: ADD the new onanism?

hi patrick, 

i think, you must draw a distinction between two strategies of 
normalisation, on the one hand the protonormalism (in the sense of 
industrial standardization and juridical norms) and on the other hand 
a flexible kind of normalisation, especially practices of 
self-regulation that are guided by statistics and graphics, e.g. the 
kinsey-report in the sixties.
and remember that normality is a concept developed in the 
field of medicine in the beginning of the 19th century (broussais 
discoverd the continuum between health and disease, between these two 
poles is only a qantitative, but not qualitaive difference). and from 
there it was adopted by sociology (comte wanted an explanation for 
his personal psychotic episode).
normalisation is referring to homogenisation, and homogenisation 
means the transformation of social reality - foucault (in 
opposite to canguilhem) has demonstrated these operative and 
historical aspects of normality un surveiller et punir
[for normality see also dits et ecrits: II: 416-419, 538-646, 
822-828; III: 13-27, 40-58, 175-189 (société de normalisation), 
207-228 (hygienical normalisation), 368-382, 443-464, 477-499, 
635-657 (demographic statistcs); IV: 10-19, 182-201 (demographics, 
hygiene), 367-383 (insurrances)]
but foucault did not draw this clear distinction i mentioned above, 
this was worked out by juergen link, who is working about the 
genealogy of normality.  
and i think that you can situate the discussion about ritalin and 
other modern pharmaceuticals in this field of flexible normalism.

> Date:          Tue, 1 Dec 1998 19:59:00 -0700 (MST)
> From:          Krueger <>
> To:  
> Subject:       Re: ADD the new onanism?
> Reply-to:

> Normality, per se, is a very vague term. Especially when one begins to
> look at it over time.  Is it normal to have a microwave? Is it normal to
> beleive in god?  Is it normal to take medications?  I think that the
> "enforcement of normality" is of ancilary worth until the "evolution of
> normality" is examined.  It sort of makes me wonder how less about how
> societies are becoming pathological, and more about why this is defined as
> pathological now, whereas something else completely was defined as
> pathological in the past.
> Caio,
> PMK  


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