Michel Foucault - Various Quotations

‘We must not imagine a world of discourse divided between accepted discourse and excluded discourse, or between the dominant discourse and the dominated one […] We must make allowance for the complex and unstable process by which discourse can be both an instrument […] of power, but also a hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy.’ (History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: Introduction, Penguin Edn. 1990, pp.100-01; quoted in Klaus Gunnar Schneider, ‘Irishness and Postcoloniality in Glenn Patterson’s Burning Your Own, in Irish Studies Review, 6, 1,1998, pp.55-62; p.12.)

‘Strangely enough, man is probably no more than a rift in the order of things, or in any case, a configuration whose outlines are determined by the new positions he has so recently taken up in the field of knowledge. Whence all chimeras of the new humanisms, all the facile solution of an “anthropology” understood as a universal reflection on man.’ (The Order of Things: An Anthropology of the Human Sciences, trans. Alan Sheridan, London: Tavistock 1970, q.p.)

‘The present epoch will perhaps be the epoch of space.’ (“Of Other Spaces”, in Diacritics, 16 1988, pp.22-27; q.p.)

[On the author:] ‘a projection … of the operations that we force textgs to undergo, the connections that we make, the traits that we establish as pertinent, the continuities that we recognize, or the exclusions that we practice.’ (‘What is the Author?’, in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow, p.11; rep. in Josué V. Harari, ed. & trans., Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-structuralist Criticism, Cornell UP 1979; quoted in Vicki Mahaffey, Reauthorizing Joyce, Cambridge UP 1988, p.25.)

‘[Not] the genial creator of a work in which he deposits, with infinite wealth and generosity, an inexhaustible world of significations [but] the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning.’ (Ibid., p.119; Mahaffey, idem.)

‘I believe that by subjugated knowledges one should understand … a whole set of knowledges that have been disqualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naïve knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity. I also believe that it is through the reemergence of these low-ranking knowledges, these unqualified, even directly disqualified knowledges [...] that criticism performs its work [...]. To emancipate [them] from that subjection [is] to render them [..] capable of opposition and of struggle.’ (‘Two Lectures’, in Power/Knowledge, NY: Pantheon 1980, pp.82-85; quoted in Carol Shloss, 'Molly’s Resistance to the Union: Marriage and Colonialism in Dublin, 1904’, in Molly Blooms: A Polylogue on “Penelope” and Cultural Studies, ed. Richard Pearce, Wisconsin UP 1994, p.116.)

‘Genealogy, as an analysis of descent, is [...] situated within the articulation of the body and history. Its task is to expose a body totally imprinted by history and the process of history’s destruction of the body.’ (‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews with Michel Foucault, ed. Donald F. Bouchard (NY: Cornell UP 1977), p.148; quoted in Vivien Steele, UU Diss., UUC 2011.)

See David Spurr, ‘Colonial Spaces in Joyce’s Dublin’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 37, 1/2 [Dublin and the Dubliners] (Fall 1999-Winter 2000) [in reference to “Wandering Rocks” in Ulysses]: ‘Foucault makes the point that circulation is one of the defining characteristics of the modern site, which has superseded the stable, hierarchised, and sanctified notion of place belonging to the Middle Ages; the site is defined by structural relations as in a grid or network and includes “the circulaton of discrete elements with a random output.” such as automobile or pedestrian traffic. The circulation of capital that forms the economic basis of the city has its physical extension in the circulation [32] of life and machines through the city streets. [...; cites Michael de Certeau on the city as machinery and hero of modernity.] The dynamic of the city drives the narrative of Joyce’s work [Ulysses], while it also becomes the principle subject of that narrative.’ (p.32-33.)

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