Notes on: Foucault, M.  (1970) 'The Order of Discourse: Inaugural Lecture at the College de France, given 2 December, 1970.  In Young, R.  (Ed.  and intro) (1981) Untying the Text: A Post Structuralist Reader.  London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.

Dave Harris

[We can get the gist of this by looking at the programme he intends to launch at the end of the whole piece].  He intends to develop first the critical aspects of the project to look at 'instances of discursive control' (71).  This will be combined with the 'genealogical aspect' examining how discourses are formed in a way which is 'at once dispersed, discontinuous, and regular'.  Both aspects are to be seen as connected, since formation itself incorporates procedures of control, and vice versa.  So the difference is a matter of perspective.  Ideal topics for this project include the discourse of sexuality, how it is discussed explained and judged, how the taboos are both reinforced and evaded.  Another set of discourses would deal with 'wealth and poverty, money, production and commerce' (72), which would include very heterogeneous statements by the parties involved, each with its own form of regularity and constraint, and how these eventually emerged into the discipline of political economy.  The final example turns on discourses concerning heredity and how this turns into the various 'epistemologically coherent and institutionally recognized figure of genetics'.  So we are going to look critically at 'the systems that envelop identify and grasp these principles of sanctioning, exclusion, and scarcity of discourse' usually practised in the form of 'a studied casualness'[the systems I assume, not the analysis].  Then we develop the genealogy, understanding 'the series where discourse is effectively formed: it tries to grasp it in its power of affirmation...the power to constitute domains of objects, in respect of which one can affirm or deny true or false propositions'.  These domains can be called 'positivities', and the genealogical mood is 'happy positivism' (73).  The entire point is not to uncover some universal meaning but to reveal 'the action of imposed scarcity, with the fundamental power of affirmation.  Scarcity and affirmation; ultimately, the scarcity of affirmation, and not the continuous generosity of meaning, and not the monarchy of the signifier'.  'Those with gaps in their vocabulary'might call this 'structuralism'.

[Now let's go back to the beginning of the piece, and then follow the argument through. The beginning is rather interesting for a man who has already announced the death of the author].  Foucault says he would prefer to describe what follows as something 'enveloped by speech, and carried away well beyond all possible beginnings', although he is expected 'to begin it myself'  (51).  He would prefer to talk of 'a nameless voice...  already speaking long before me'.  Instead of being seen as some great inaugurator, he could then appear as 'at the mercy of its [discourses's] chance unfolding'.  He would prefer to think that he is compelled by some voice behind him urging him on.  Considering beginnings can be 'strange, frightening and perhaps maleficent'.  However, he is fully aware that the institution in question ironically [in his case] insists on solemn beginnings, 'a circle of attention and silence' and 'ritualized forms' to make the whole thing conventional and recognisable.  Desire drives to avoid 'peremptoriness and decisiveness', to operate surrounded by 'calm, deep transparence, infinitely open, where others would fit in with my expectations, and from which truths would emerge one by one', so that he could be carried forward by it.  However the institution insists that he should not be afraid of beginning, and that 'discourse belongs to the order of laws', that institutions both honour and disarm discourse, and indeed that institutions are the source of the power of discourses.  This reply adds to the anxiety about trying to specify 'what discourse is in its material reality as a thing pronounced or written'(52).

This leads to the general hypothesis that any production of discourse is 'at once controlled, selected, organized and redistributed by a certain number of procedures whose role is to ward off its powers and dangers, to gain mastery over its chance and events' and 'to evade its ponderous, formidable materiality'.  These procedures of exclusion are well known.  The most obvious one is the prohibition, which might proscribe content, to insist on appropriate rituals for circumstances or to impose some exclusive right on particular speaking subjects.  These three forms often intersect in the form of a grid.  They often apply particularly strongly to areas such as sexuality and politics - which implies that [official] discourse alone is not enough to disarm and pacify: the prohibitions actually reveal the links between discourse and power.  We can also clearly see, as with psychoanalysis, that the object of desire is to form a discourse, that discourse does not just translate struggles or systems of domination, 'but is the thing for which and by which there is struggle' (53).

Another mechanism of exclusion involves dividing reason from madness: the mad man automatically has his discourse cancelled as worthless, for example as evidence in law [there is a lovely snarky remark about how mad men are 'incapable even of bringing about the trans- substantiation of bread into body at Mass'].  At the same time the speech of madmen was also held to possess 'strange powers', being able to foretell the future, or offering a plain truth.  For a long time in Europe, those were the only alternatives.  In neither case, does the speech involved actually exist.  It is read as symptoms, or as concealing some deeper truths.  The mad were never listened to, 'This whole immense discourse of the madman was taken for noise'.  Even though there are new ways of thinking about the speech of madness, this division between reason and mad speech persists - for example we still need experts to decipher the speech of the mad.  The division simply works differently, indifferent institutions, and doctors still use reason to diagnose the discourse of the mad.

There has long been a distinction between the true and false, and this can also act as a system of exclusion.  Although it is easy to see the first two principles as rooted in something arbitrary or institutional, it is different with truth, which seems to have crossed many centuries, taken a general form, driven a whole 'will to know' (54).  We can detect particular historical circumstances, for example in Greece of the sixth century BC, where the truthful discourse was one which 'inspired respect and terror' which compelled obedience because it was spoken by men who had the right, and 'according to the required ritual'.  Thus reason administered justice, diagnosed the future to guide decisions, and thus make them happen[seeming powerful as a result] .  A century later, however truth became a matter of what a discourse said, not how it said it, a focus on 'the utterance itself, its meaning, its form, its object, its relation to its reference'.  This is a major division in Greek thought, and the result was that 'the true discourse is no longer precious and desirable, since it is no longer the one linked to the exercise of power'.  This historical division produced the modern conception of the will to know, but there have been subsequent changes.  It's common to think of changes in scientific thought as arising from discovery, for example, 'but they can also be read as the appearance of new forms in the will to truth'- 19th century conceptions differ from classical ones, for example, both in terms of domains of objects to be studied, and the techniques to be used.  In 16th century England especially, schemas were developed of 'possible, observable, measurable, classifiable objects' (55), which implied that the knowing subject had to possess a will to know, to go beyond experience, and develop a certain position, gaze and function - '(to see rather than to read, to verify rather than to make commentaries on)'.  Technical instruments show the impact of the more general technical level, and knowledge had to be invested in techniques 'in order to be verifiable and useful'. This will to truth requires institutional support, practices such as pedagogy, books, publishing, libraries, learned societies, and laboratories.  It is also renewed and valorised by its application, and attributed to a society, just as arithmetic was seen as an activity for democratic societies, and geometry for oligarchies, in ancient Greece [so technical progress is attributed to liberal democracy?].  This sort of will to truth also constraints other discourses, for example literature which decides to concern itself with the natural, the sincere , or the true, common notions based on science.  Similarly economic practices were 'codified as precepts or recipes and ultimately as morality' based on some theory of wealth and production.  Even the penal system sought to justify itself in jurisprudence first, then in 'sociological, psychological, medical, and psychiatric knowledge', a case where even the law had to be authorized by 'a discourse of truth'.

It is the third principle, of truth that has emerged most prominently, and has managed to some extent to assimilate the others.  It 'constantly grows stronger, deeper and more implacable'(56).  Yet this is rarely recognized - its 'vicissitudes were masked by the unfolding of truth itself.' It only appears to have been freed from desire and power, but the will to truth is still pervaded by these, even though products conceal this.  All that we usually see is some universal truth,a  richness and fecundity.  Some people have attempted to reveal the will to truth beneath the specific truths - 'from Nietzsche to Artaud and Bataille', and their work should be continued [although they were labelled as mad or undesirable at some stage].

We have so far discussed only exterior procedures which exclude, but there are internal procedures as well, where discoursess 'exercise their own control; procedures which function rather as principles of classification, of ordering, of distribution'.  Discourses have to manage 'events and chance'.  One way to do this is by [dominant?] narrative commentary, worked into myth, formula and ritual, to be repeated in particular circumstances as if 'behind them there is a secret or a treasure'.  We actually find 'a gradation'- with ordinary discourses 'which vanish as soon as they have been pronounced' (57) and those which are more productive, seem to persist indefinitely, generate new speech acts - classically 'religious or juridical texts' but occasionally literary ones and even scientific ones.  This differentiation is not stable, and sometimes they swap places.  However 'the function remains' and so does the principle of differentiation [sounds very much like Durkheim on the profane and the sacred].  The distinctions is effaced only in 'played, utopia, or anguish' [one example is a 'Borges-type play where a commentary simply reproduces word for word the text itself, or where criticism speaks of a work which does not actually exist.  Another is a patient of Janet who took every utterance as gospel truth, and wanted to comment on it indefinitely].  Even here, the relations seems to persist even though the terms vary. There are different forms, for example between juridical and religious, and particular literary works can be commented upon in various ways [the example is Odysseus].  Commentary has an important role in generating discourse because it is endless and endlessly renewable.  It also installs a hierarchy between itself and the primary text, something seen as permanent, and with multiple or hidden meanings.  The assumption is that it's possible to say something '"beyond"'the primary text (58).  Paradoxically, commentary says for the first time something that actually has already been said, it claims to be creative and yet still based on something given, and further commentaries on those commentaries produce 'infinite rippling'.  What commentary does is to manage 'the open multiplicity, the element of chance' in a text, transferring responsibility and risk to 'the mask', claiming that a new meaning can emerge only 'in the event of its return'.

There is also the figure of the author - not 'the speaking individual who pronounced or wrote a text, but in the sense of the principle of grouping of discourses, conceived as the unity and origin of the meanings, as the focus of the coherence'.  This principle is not found everywhere, and can be variable - lots of discourses seem to derive their meaning without an author, such as everyday remarks, various decrees, anonymous technical instructions [all these usually presuppose an author, though?].  Attribution to authors is more common in literature, philosophy and science, but even here there are variables.  In the middle ages, the people judged the truth of the text by its author but this has declined in science, and the author is only used to give a name to something [as in eponymy].  In literary discourse it is the other way around, and the function of the author is stronger - in the middle ages, tales or comedies or dramas could circulate without being authored, but now the author is supposed to 'account for the unity of the texts', authenticate any hidden meaning found in them, explain the importance of lived experiences and real history - the text's  'insertion in the real'.  It might be the case that authors are reinvented by criticism, and attributions of authorship serve only to manage incoherence.  It is also undeniable that it is individuals who write and invent.  However, it is more that any individual 'takes upon himself the function of the author', managing the differences between draft, oeuvre and work, for example within a particular horizon available in a particular epoch.  Even those who reject the traditional image of the author are still only adopting 'some new author position' (59) to 'cut out [the work], from everything he could say he and from all that he does'. So commentaries manage chance by constructing repetition and sameness, but the author principle does this through maintaining an identity based on 'individuality and the self'.

Another source of limitation is the notion of the discipline which permits construction, 'but within narrow confines'. This principle opposes both commentary and author, largely by replacing the individual with a 'corpus of propositions considered to be true'.  The discipline appears as an anonymous system.  Unlike the commentary, the point is to construct new statements and new propositions.  Disciplines are not just the sum of everything that can be truthfully said or accepted on the basis of data - for example medicine and botany are 'made up of errors as well as truths' (60), and these errors have positive functions and a role that is associated with truth.  In both cases,  'a determinate plane of objects'have to be addressed, and this can vary historically [one example is botany, which used to deal with the visible structures of plants, and before that their symbolic value.  In medicine, it was common to attempt to close the boundaries in the 19th century by excluding everything that seem to be individual, popular, 'metaphorical, qualitative and substantial'.  New metaphors replaced the old ones, concerning physiology and function.  In both cases, the disciplines searched for a 'primitive language' {axioms?} and this inevitably produced 'error - chimera and reverie...pure and simple linguistic monstrosity'].  In attempting to systematize true and false propositions, 'teratology'[defined apparently as a study of physical anomalies and also linguistic monstrosities] was abandoned, or rather renamed as false. 

There is knowledge outside science like immediate experience and 'immemorial beliefs', but these are not normally seen as errors - it takes 'a definite practice' to define an error -- but 'there are monsters on the prowl' defined differently in different historical circumstances.  This leads to the point that truth and falsity depends on some underlying conception of truth - the distinctions depend on a discipline being '"in the true", as Canguilhem would say'.  It is this underlying conception that prevents botanists or biologists seeing what we take to be obvious, like the observations of Mendel, who was applying methods and occupying a position 'theoretical horizon...alien to the biology of his time' (61) [more or less what Kuhn says about paradigms].  Any apparent hereditary traits were seen before as an enigma, but Mendel saw them as a new biological object 'detaching' the trait from the species and from the sex which transmits it.  So 'Mendel spoke the truth but he was not "within the true" of the biological discourse of his time'.  Mendel was therefore 'a true monster' who could not be recognized initially.  Biologists working within the old paradigm, on the other hand, can be seen as 'merely formulating a disciplined error'.  To be 'in the true' requires us to obey 'discursive "policing"'.  Disciplines fix the limits of discourses, and any nondiscursive truth appears only 'in the space of a wild exteriority'.  Disciplines continually reactivate the rules, as a constraining counterpart to the productivity that they also encourage.

There are still more procedures affecting the application of discourses, for example 'rarefaction', where some people are excluded from accessing them, because they are unqualified, for example.  Discoursess vary in terms of their openness.  [This can be illustrated by relating an anecdote about how a Japanese Shogun saw European mathematics as the key to their power, and attempted to learn mathematics.  The oddity is that the sailor who taught the shogun actually learned his mathematics as a result of working in a shipyard.  The anecdote illustrates the falsely universal notion of knowledge and the free exchange of discourses in Europe against 'oriental tyranny'].  In fact exchange and communication are positive elements but they work 'inside complex systems of restriction'.  The most visible is provided by ritual, including examination rituals [or inaugural ones].  Rituals determine both the roles and the properties of speaking subjects.  There are also societies of discourse which promote them, but within closed spaces [a bizarre example includes {Greek?} rhapsodists, 63].  Even though these societies may not exist any longer, there are still ways to appropriate secrets.  Even the modern act of writing with its processes of producing and publishing books can constrain.  Writers themselves want to maintain the 'fundamental singularity' of writing, building on an apparent splits between creativity and using a language.  There also technical or scientific secrets, restricted forms of circulation of medical discourses, and even those of politics and economics [the modern university plays a crucial part here - so why not critique it explicitly?].

Various doctrines, including religious political and philosophical ones also produce the emergence of the  'discursive ensemble', and these can claim 'reciprocal allegiance'with participants.  It looks like all we have to do to gain entry is to recognise 'the same truths', and conform with the 'validated discourses'.  So far, this looks just like disciplines, but doctrines question both statements and the speaking subject -- the subject  through notions like 'heresy and orthodoxy' (64),  which are fundamental to doctrine, not an excess.  Also, since statements in the doctrine stand as 'the sign, manifestation and instrument of or prior adherence to a class, or social status, a race, and nationality, an interest, a revolt, a resistance or an acceptance'[nice and abstract, covers all the possibilities], doctrines offer 'a double subjection: of the speaking subject to discourses and of discourses to the (at least virtual) group of speaking individuals'.  There are also large differences in terms of the ability to appropriate discourses, for example in the education system: 'any system of education is a political way of maintaining or modifying the appropriation of discourses, along with that knowledges and powers which they carry'.

These distinctions between rituals, societies, doctrines, and social groups look abstract, and they are often linked to each other to construct 'great edifices'.  Yet we have identified 'the major procedures of subjection used by discourse'.  Again the education system represents an example which ritualizes speech, offers qualifications, affixes roles for speaking subjects, produces doctrinal groups and distributes knowledge.  So does the whole institution of 'writing'[in high cultural terms], with the same sort of subjection.  The judicial system and medicine can also be seen as 'systems of subjection of and by discourse'.

Philosophy is also complicit, for example, by proposing an ideal truth or an immanent rationality as driving it, some ethic of knowledge whereby truth is produced only by the desire for truth.  The specific reality of discourses is denied.  Western thought in general attempts to close the gap between thought and speech, so that discourse appears as a simple immediate relation between the two, the thought 'made visible by means of words'(65).  This is an ancient project, with modern forms.  One example is in 'the idea of the founding subject'[Great Men?] who directly animates 'the empty forms of language with his aims'.  This subject grasps meaning by intuition.  He sets the 'horizons of meaning' somehow in the future, which will eventually ground all sorts of propositions and deductions.  He works only with 'signs, marks [my voice recognition kit knows that Foucault really means Marx] , traces, letters', rather than particular instances of discourse.  A similar theme involves 'originating experience' which somehow provides us with 'prior significations' open to 'a sort of primitive recognition'.  This 'primordial complicity with the world' provides the basis of our ability to speak about it, to name it and judge it, denying 'the reality of discourse.  There is also the notion of 'universal mediation', discovering everywhere a Logos to help us grasp immediately 'the whole rationality of the world'(66).  But this Logos is only 'a discourse that has already been held, or rather it is things themselves, and events, which imperceptibly turn themselves into discourse as they unfold the secret of their own essence' [could include Deleuze here, possibly, where the universe acts as a metacinema].  This makes discourse 'little more than the gleaming of the truth in the process of being born to its own gaze', and when discourse eventually develops, it is only because everything has manifested its meaning and can revert to 'their consciousness of self' [which looks more like Hegel is the target?]. In all these approaches, 'discourse is no more than a play' of writing, reading or exchange respectively, and writing only manipulates signs - putting discourse 'at the disposal of the signifier'.

Our civilization appears to honor and validate discourse freed from all constraint, yet this 'apparent logophilia' can still hide fear.  All the previous constraints are seen only to manage and discipline discourse.  This still denies the ways in which discourse irrupts into thought and language.  There is still also 'a profound logophobia', a terror of discourse as an event,  about what still might exist beyond 'this great incessant and disordered buzzing of discourse'[maybe].  We can only overcome these fears, by analyzing the practices included under the 'will to truth'.  This will recover the notion of discourse as an event, and also 'throw off the sovereignty of the signifier'.

This will involve particular 'methodological requirements' (67).  We must operate 'a principle of reversal' when analyzing the source of discourses as rooted in the author, the discipline and the will to truth.  We must grasp  the negative results of the rarefaction of discourse [and of 'a cutting up'- possibly in referring to the way in which discourse manages and domesticates reality?].  However, what actually would critical analysis lead to?  Are we assuming some 'virtual plenitude of a world of uninterrupted discourses?'.  Further methodological requirements are needed, such as 'a principle of discontinuity'.  This assumes that just because some discourses rarify, this does not imply that there is some unlimited discourse beneath them which is being quelled and repressed, some 'great unsaid or a great unthought' running throughout the world [Foucault is himself one who risks this view with his stuff on suppressed histories etc] .  Instead, we must see discourses as 'discontinuous practices' which can contradict juxtapose or ignore each other.  There is also 'a principle of specificity', which would deny that there are 'preexisting significations' which simply have to be deciphered.  There is no happy complicity between the world and our knowledge, no 'prediscursive providence'[this is philosophy as expressing  the good will of the world,  discussed in Difference and Repetition].  Instead, we should see 'discourse as a violence which we do to things...a practice which we impose on them' in the interests of regularity.  The fourth principle is that of exteriority - there is no hidden nucleus for thought or discourse, no master signification, and discourse itself produces  'external conditions of possibility'[and also, 'the aleatory series of these events' and their limits'.  I'm not sure what this means, unless in the act of constructing a discourse we recognise that events actually are aleatory - I think he is going to argue this in a minute]. These notions can be seen as implying the need to examine 'the event, the series, the regularity, the condition of possibility'.  We need to oppose the notion of the event to that of creation [Foucault admires Deleuze for describing the event as having characteristics that must always eldude us], series to unity, regularity to originality, and conditions of possibility to signification.  It is the opposed terms that have dominated the history of ideas, however.

Contemporary history has helped us grasp 'the structures of longer duration' (68), moving away from privileged singular events.  However, the one does not replace the other, and often what history has done is to analyze 'the fine grain of the event' by examining aspects of it in detail [like price lists, title deeds, parish registers - I thought of an historian I know who spent his life looking at mediaeval parish land registries], studying in effect, ' massive phenomena' extending over the years rather than turning away from events.  We could see history as enlarging the event.  However history also defines the series of which the event is part, but  'without enquiring into the variations, bends and angles of the graph', or analysing conditions.  [On the good side?] History has long abandoned notions of cause and effect in favour of 'the formless the unity of a great becoming, vaguely homogenous or ruthlessly hierarchised', but not in the interest of prior structures controlling the event, rather 'to establish diverse series, intertwined and often divergent but not autonomous', so that we can locate the place of events, the limits of chance, and the conditions of appearance.

[We should similarly?] abandon the notions of consciousness and continuity, freedom and causality, sign and structure, and develop instead the event and the series, together with associated notions of 'regularity, dimension of chance (aléa), discontinuity, dependence, transformation'.  These should be used to analyze discourses not the traditional thematics, as in 'the effective work of historians'.  Yet formidable philosophical and theoretical problems are involved.  If discourses are discursive events, what status should we give the event?  Events can be neither substance nor accident, quality nor process, and 'not of the order of bodies' (69), although there is something material, taking material effect.  Events have a locus and a relation with material events of various kinds, such as overlapping or accumulation.  It should be seen as 'a dispersion of matter', not the act or property of the body.  This points towards what might be paradoxical - - 'a materialism of the incorporeal'.

Similarly, discursive events can be seen as located on a line of homogenous series, but such lines are discontinuous with each other.  How does this discontinuity occur?  It is not just a matter of succession in time, nor plural thinking subjects.  The discontinuity refers to 'caesuras which break up the instant and disperse the subjects into a plurality of possible positions and functions'.  We must abandon the usual units of the instant and the subject, and think of the relations which exist beneath them and independently of them, relations between discontinuous series.  We need a theory of 'discontinuous systematicities' [which we might find in Deleuze in the lines that connect points in multiplicities?].  These will exist outside of theories of the subject and normal time.  They will have their own regularity, which are not mechanical causality or ideal necessity.  We must accept the aleatory 'as a category in the production of events'.  At the moment, we lack a theory to relate chance and thought.  As a result, it looks like there will be a persuasive use of the gap between the representations behind discourse, and the discourses themselves as regular and distinct series of events, and it looks like this is a [suspicious or ill founded] way to introduce chance and the discontinuous, 'materiality at the very roots of thought'.  Conventional history [not the stuff he admired above?] tries to deal with this by seeing some 'unraveling of an ideal necessity' at work.  However, these [so far ill formed] notions should enable us 'to connect the history of systems of thought to the practice of historians', and guide theoretical elaboration.

[Then we get to the project of pursuing critical analysis and genealogical procedures as at the start of this set of notes].  In more detail, analyses should operate first by looking at functions of exclusion, as in the work on madness in the classical epoch.  Another project might look at the prohibition of language concerning sexuality, moving from confession to medicalization in psychiatry [presumably resulting in the History of Sexuality]: at this stage, we can already anticipate novel rhythms and prohibitions.  There is another project relating to exclusion, turning on the issue of truth and how we choose it.  This might begin with Socrates and platonic philosophy, the notion of ritual discourse loaded with power, and how this eventually led to the division between true and false discourse [as in the discussion above] moving through 16th century English [empiricism], connected to 'religious ideology', and ending with the foundation of modern science and positivist ideology that accompany industrial societies.  These can be seen as three cross sections through the overall 'morphology of our will to know, three stages of our philistinism' (71).  There is also a project to look at the affects of medical and social scientific discourse on practices and discourses 'constituted by the penal system', beginning with psychiatric expertise and its role [presumably as in Discipline and Punish?] .  It should be possible to identify the procedures whereby discourses are limited discussed above - the author, a commentary, the discipline.  More specific studies can be envisaged, such as an analysis of the history of medicine, not stressing discoveries made all concepts used, but an attempt to grasp how these principles of limitation were used, not only in the discourses, but also in the 'whole institution that supports, transmits and reinforces it' [presumably this became the Clinic thing].  The analysis would look at the great authors like Hippocrates and others, and the practices of 'the aphorism and the commentary', eventually giving place to the collection of cases, and the clinical apprenticeship based on them, and finally at the most important factors leading medicine to constitute itself as a discipline. It would be possible to do the same for literary criticism and literary history, showing how the person of the author and the notion of the oeuvre developed and changed, displacing religious terminology, Biblical criticism, legendary lives, memoirs.  We might study the role played by Freudian psychoanalytic knowledge and compare it with the role played by Newton in physics, or authors in philosophical discourse.

Genealogies might study the 'effective formation of discourse' within and despite these constraints.  The process of rarefaction would be particularly important, as critical analysis but so would the grouping and unification of different discourses, how discourses are formed, dispersed, how their discontinuities are preserved or made regular - the two processes are never completely separable, and it would be wrong to see formation as operating at some deeper level surging up and then being submitted to control.  The regular formation of discourse requires control in some conditions, as when the discipline regulates a discourse, and, conversely, figures of control can emerge from a discursive formation [the example here is the notion of the author emerging from literary criticism, as with this piece ]. Critical and genealogical effort goes hand in hand.  For example, it would be difficult to understand the taboos attached to the discourse of sexuality without analysing the discoursess in which sexuality is discussed, named or judged.  There may be no regular and unified discourse of sexuality.  There may however be specific taboos, and in particular ways of reinforcing or evading them [the method here seems to be to do some sort of comparative analysis, say with literature or medicine] -- taboos appear in 'pluralities of series' (72).  Similarly, we might examine the series of discoursess dealing with wealth and poverty or commerce, as above, taking examples of specific statements in each and their systems of regularity and constraint: here, a unified form of regularity emerged only with the formation of the discipline of political economy, but a lot of preliminary work had to take place 'excluding, justifying or brushing aside this one all that one of their [the particular] utterances'.  Similarly, we might consider the formation of the discipline of genetics, emerging from various scattered and dispersed discoursess which were essentially articulated and recomposed in order to become 'epistemologically coherent and institutionally recognized' (73) [and there is reference to a certain Francois Jacob as exemplary].

So we alternate and complement the critical and the genealogical, so that each supports the other, looking at systems that envelop discourse and develop principles of exclusion and scarcity, but the same time look at the genealogical and 'it's power of affirmation', the way it constitutes domains of objects and adjudicates between true and false propositions in a spirit of happy positivism.  We're not aiming at some universal meaning, but rather examining 'the action of imposed scarcity, with a fundamental power of affirmation.  Scarcity and affirmation; ultimately, scarcity of affirmation', not some notion of continuous generation of meaning, and not 'the monarchy of the signifier' etc [as above] .

[The final section has Foucault doffing his hat to the people who taught and inspired him].  Georges Dumezl showed him how to analyze 'the internal economy of the discourse' away from 'traditional exegesis or linguistic formalism', and to suggest a relation to institutions.  Canguilhem's account of the history of sciences leads to new possible applications, and to an awareness that science can be seen as a combination of theoretical models and conceptual instruments, not just a history of discovery.  However the greatest debt is to Hyppolite, who expounded Hegel as the major framework for thought in our epoch [and also tested it to destruction, showing how closely it has affected our knowledge, and how difficult it is to break with Hegel - even criticism of him might be simply 'a ruse which he is using against us'(74)]. Hyppolite made Hegel take substance after his masterful translations, and he explored all the ways there might be out of this text, making it 'one of modernity's schemata of experience'.  He saw Hegelianism as something that can be tested by modernity, an experiment or confrontation, an example of the risk taken by philosophy.  In doing this, he had to displace or even invert some of the themes, for example not seeing Hegel's thought as a completion or totality, but rather 'a task without end' (75), 'philosophy as the inaccessible thought of the totality'[so even Deleuze has not escaped this reading -- I think Zizek argues this ].  Instead of seeing the consciousness of the self as finished or closed, it became 'a theme of repetitive interrogation'.  Philosophy should not consider itself to be something outside the hegelian concept, so pursuing 'the edifice of abstraction' is misguided, and philosophy always had to'put itself back in contact with non philosophy'.  It had to deal with the singularity of history, the local rationalities of science, the notion of memory within consciousness [presumably subjective memory?].  Philosophy had to remain 'disquieted, mobile all along its line of contact with non philosophy, yet existing only by means of nonphilosophy and revealing the meaning it has for us'.  The questions that remained were whether philosophy was somehow already there, secretly present in the non philosophical, or already 'starting to formulate itself half aloud in the murmur of things', or whether it should seek some secure foundation, but this would risk being 'at once arbitrary and absolute'.  In this way, the question of the movements of 'the immediate' become an issue of the foundation of philosophical discourse and its structure. If philosophy is an absolute discourse, how has it escaped history, and where does it actually begin in the middle of social relations between individuals and the social, and class struggles?

These explore the limits of hegelian philosophy, and served to locate the great figures - Marx on history, Fichte on the absolute foundations of philosophy, 'Bergson with the theme of contact with the non philosophical'[a wider implication of Bergson's work than I had realized - no wonder Deleuze likes him], Kierkegaard on repetition and truth, Husserl on philosophy as infinite and produced by the history of rationality.  Further domains of knowledge were implied - psychoanalysis and the logic of desire, mathematics and the formalization of discourse, information theory and its application to living beings.  In each field, a logic and an existence 'never stop tying and untying their bonds' (76).  This is why many owe a debt to Hyppolite.  This is why Foucault wishes 'to place my work under his sign', and constantly evokes him.  He even manages to see his own appointment as a testimony to Hyppolite, although naturally he feels himself inadequate.  It is really Hyppolite's voice that he is referring to in his opening remarks, something that would precede him, invite him to speak and develop his discourse.  This is what was so terrifying - that Foucault was speaking in the same place where he once listened to Hyppolite.

[NB a note is attached to the early points about reason and madness which apparently continues a debate with Derrida begun in D's review of F's Madness and Civilization. F had said that the 'epistemological break' between medieval and classical eras can be located with Descartes. D said this offered a 'metaphysics of presence or origins' and showed that the division was constituted out of language itself, that the Logos was already split. F says we can see the division emerging in Greek history. This in turn led to F's notion of a 'structure of repetition' denying origins in general --much debate ensued. I think F does run the risk of seeing everything as language, and rows back with  the flourish towards the material and institutional and this leaves him open to Derrida's challenge. I'm not sure posing some structure of repetition ends the difficulties. Deleuze tried to rescue him by seeing the sayable and the visible as two aspects of a multiplicity.

There are more mundane criticisms.So far, F has offered a rather abstract discussion of the constraints on discourse, seeing bald prohibition as an early and not very interesting process. Its modern forms dominate current university life though -- financially enforced prohibitions by funding bodies insisting on quantitative research, managerial/governmental prohibition of stuff that doesn't count for the REF, prohibitions of stuff that fails to meet the Quality or Skills agendas? Then there is the commercial agendas of publishers. No doubt none of these applied too obviously to a distinguished French Professor, let alone the grubby prohibitions imposed by having to recruit and assess students.]

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