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Philosophy of Research--Foucault

Post-structuralism
by

Jerry Rosiek

on 2 November 2017

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Transcript of Philosophy of Research--Foucault

Acknowledgement
Appreciating Critical Theory
Lecture on Foucualt's Poststructuralism
Small group
Panel Discussion
Intro Deconstruction Readings
Gots and Needs
Introduction to Post-Structuralism
Signifier
Signified
arbitrary relationship
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Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Word
Object
word
word
word
word
word
poetic origin
Signifier
Each signifier supplements the previous.

Stability of meaning is provided by linguistic structure, not by the relationship of word and object
structure
structure
Signified
Foucault's Semiotics
Discourse
Object of Study
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structure
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Foucualt, however, is not interested in a deep structure, as much as he is using Levi-Strauss's notion of cultural structures to destabilize the way we have naturalized the cultural contsructs we currently live in.
Foucault applied structuralism to the operation of "disciplinary" discourses--medicine, mental health, criminology, the humanities, etc. He used his methods of geneaology to highlight the arbitrary way our communities have shifted from one discursive construction of an object of study to another (e.g. from madness to mental health).
Foucault's Panopticon
Foucault was primarilly interested in how different disciplinary discourses produced different subjectivities. He used the metaphor of a prison design known as the panopticon to describe the functioning of modern society.
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structure
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discursive
rules
discursive rules
Juxtaposition
not synthesis
Prisoners and citizens in a panoptic system end up internalizing the "gaze" of thpse surveilling them. Not because they agree, but because they must to function and survive. The habituation shapes their subjectivity whether or not they oppose it. They are "subjected", made into subjects.
A few modern binaries that coercively organize our society
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Abled/Disabled
Male/Female
White/Non-White
Professional/Unprofessional
Hetero/Homosexual
Cisgender/Transgender
Rational/Irrational
Good credit/bad credit
Intelligent/Unintelligent
Down-for-the-cause/sell-out
Member of the faith/heathen
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Signifiers
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lighter skin color
standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
individualistic
rationality
wealth
higher education religious affiliation
repression
Racially Coded Colonization
darker skin color
non-standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
collectivist/communal
irrationality
poverty
lack of education religious affiliation
anger
sensuous
analytic/logical/theoretical
creative in the
conceptual arts
practical
creative in the practical arts
PAN OPTIC GAZE
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PAN OPTIC GAZE
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Counter Hegemony
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lighter skin color
standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
individualistic/selfish
analytic/logical/theoretical
creative in the conceptual arts
darker skin color
non-standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
collectivist/communal
practical
creative in the practical arts
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PAN OPTIC GAZE
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Patriarchy
Professional
Discourses

Heteronormativity
White
Supremacy

Anti-racism
Queer Politics
Credit Rating
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Panoptic discourses are multiple, overlapping,
and generate fragmented subjectivites.

Of course "discourses" are an abstraction. In practice, we exert the gazes on each other.
Notice that the primary function of the binary is to exert control on those identifying with the positive side of the binary. This is how Foucault's notion of power differs from his predecessors.
For the discourse to function their must be some who are designated in the negative side, but the majority of the population will feel they have some access to the power up category.
For the discourse to serve its disciplinary function, the signifiers marking someone on the positive side must be difficult or impossible to completely obtain.
Anti-foundational--rejects the idea that there is a single reality out there that can guarantee the veracity of the discourse within which our knowledge and subjectivities are formed.

Intersectional--permits for a recognition and analysis of multiple overlapping discursive influences that contradict and reinforce one another, fragment and overdetermine our subjectivities.

Challenges authority of hegemonic discourses. Calls for a politics of coalition based on contingent knowledge claims.

Ideology
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Ideology
Discourse
MARXISM
POSTSTRUCTURALISM:
Subjectivity
False Consciousness
False Consciousness
Reality
of Class
Oppression
Knowledge of Reality is Distorted
Attention is Deflected
Discourse
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Subjectivity
Reality
is a Relation We Form Within Experience
"Reality" is a Signifier Deployed to Focus Attention
Attention is Shaped and Focused
Objects of
Inquiry are Discursively Constructed
Reality 1
Reality 3
Reality 2
Knowledge
Constitutes Both
Subjects and
Objects
Ideological Analysis
Key characteristics of
post-structuralism

AGENDA
Next week
Two readings:
Derrida Interview
Deconstruction as applied to disability theory
Gots and Needs
Appreciateing the "Critical" part of Critical Theory
The concept "ideology" involves a critique of ignorance born of privilege (earned or unearned). Its greatest methodological significance lies in not in referring to someone else's ignorance, but to our own.
Discussion questions
Panel Discussion
What social performances cause you to feel as though you’re under surveillance?
Can you think of examples of Foucaultian discourses? How do your examples use binary oppositions? What identities do they make possible?
How does Foucault’s belief regarding ‘absolute truth/objectivity’ compare to other philosophers we have studied?
How does Foucault’s concept of discursive shifts and episteme compare to Kuhn’s concept of paradigm shifts? How does his theory of discourse compare to Marx’s theory of ideologies?
How does Foucault’s belief regarding the subject/subject-position affect our work as researchers?
Foucault was inspired by Nietzsche's work regarding history which caused him to shift his scholarship. Based on what we have read thus far, which philosopher’s work have you found the most compelling, relevant, challenging, mind blowing, most easy to tolerate?
Full transcript