File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2001/foucault.0111, message 40

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 09:10:16 +0000
Subject: RE: Archaeology/Genealogy

More important that the toolbox metaphor -- after all, what hardened 
scientific realist wouldn't say that you should drop a theory if it's 
useless?? -- is the idea of the relation between theory and practice being 
that of a relay.  In other words, theory and practice are distinct but 
interrelated modes of intellectual activity and are not simply opposed to one 
another.  Practice inspires theory, and theory redefines practice.  If I 
recall correctly, all this is also in the "Intellectuals and Power" interview.


>===== Original Message From Greg Seppi <> ====>I think that any potential for conflict between
>Foucault and "theory" can be put into perspective by
>several interviews, especially his conversation with
>Deleuze ("Intellectuals and Power") in _Language,
>Counter-Memory, Practice_ where Deleuze says that
>theories should be used like tools in a toolbox; if a
>theory does not work for you, discard it and find one
>that does. Foucault agrees, and here we can see the
>fundamental issue for Foucault: application. That is,
>if a theory is not working, or asks you to delay
>something important to you until a latter date, or
>until a "revolution" has been accomplished, than that
>theory is probably useless.
>Foucault and Deleuze both seem to agree that the work
>for intellectuals today is not to guide or to stand
>outside a struggle and watch, but to, as Foucault
>notes in a later interview "pull ears," or make people
>pay attention to issues that are important to you.
>"Theory" should be directly applicable, and should not
>block one's resistance to dominant power structures.
>I haven't studied archaeology enough, so I can only
>comment on Foucault's views on theory for now.
>- Greg
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Find the one for you at Yahoo! Personals

Dr. Nathan Widder
Lecturer in Political Theory
University of Exeter
Exeter  EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1392 263 183
Fax: +44 (0)1392 263 305


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