- The Archaeology of Knowledge
"The Archaeology of Knowledge" ("L'Archéologie du Savoir") is a book written by
Michel Foucaultand was published in 1969. This volume was Foucault's main excursion into methodology. He wrote it in order to deal with the reception that " The Order of Things" ("Les Mots et les choses") had received. It makes references to Anglo-American analytical philosophy, particularly speech acttheory.
Foucault directs his analysis toward the "statement", the basic unit of
discoursethat he believes has been ignored up to this point. "Statement" is the English translation from French "énoncé" (that which is enunciated or expressed), which has a peculiar meaning for Foucault. "Énoncé" for Foucault means that which makes propositions, utterances, or speech actsmeaningful. In this understanding, statements themselves are not propositions, utterances, or speech acts. Rather, statements create a network of rules establishing what is meaningful, and it is these rules that are the preconditions for propositions, utterances, or speech actsto have meaning. Depending on whether or not they comply with the rules of meaning, a grammatically correct sentence may still lack meaning and inversely, an incorrect sentence may still be meaningful. Statements depend on the conditions in which they emerge and exist within a field of discourse. It is huge entities of statements, called discursive formations, toward which Foucault aims his analysis. It is important to note that Foucault reiterates that the analysis he is outlining is only one possible tactic, and that he is not seeking to displace other ways of analysing discourse or render them as invalid.
Foucault's posture toward the statements is radical. Not only does he bracket out issues of
truth; he also brackets out issues of meaning. Rather than looking for a deeper meaning underneath discourse or looking for the source of meaning in some transcendental subject, Foucault analyzes the conditions of existence for meaning. In order to show the principles of meaning production in various discursive formations he details how truth claims emerge during various epochs on the basis of what was actually said and written during these periods of time. He particularly describes the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and the 20th Century. He strives to avoid all interpretation and to depart from the goals of hermeneutics. This posture allows Foucault to move away from an anthropologicalstandpoint and focus on the role of discursive practices.
Dispensing with finding a deeper meaning behind discourse would appear to lead Foucault toward
structuralism. However, whereas structuralists search for homogeneity in a discursive entity, Foucault focuses on differences. Instead of asking what constitutes the specificity of European thought he asks what differences develop within it over time. Therefore, he refuses to examine statements outside of their role in the discursive formation, and he never examines "possible" statements that could have emerged from such a formation. His identity as a historian emerges here, as he is only interested in analysing actual statements in history. The whole of the system and its discursive rules determine the identity of the statement. But, a discursive formation continually generates new statements, and some of these usher in changes in the discursive formation that may or may not be realized. Therefore, to describe a discursive formation, Foucault also focuses on expelled and forgotten discourses that never happen to change the discursive formation. Their difference to the dominant discourse also describe it. In this way one can describe specific systems that determine which types of statements emerge.
* Deleuze, Gilles. 1986. "Foucault". Trans. Sean Hand. London: Althone, 1988. ISBN 0826457800.
* Foucault, Michel. 1969. "The Archaeology of Knowledge". Trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0415287537.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
ARCHAEOLOGY — The term archaeology is derived from the Greek words archaios ( ancient ) and logos ( knowledge, discourse ) and was already used in ancient Greek literature in reference to the study of ancient times. In its modern sense it has come to mean the… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Archaeology of Israel — The archaeology of Israel is researched intensively in the universities of the region and also attracts considerable international interest on account of the region s Biblical links.Excavation in Israel continues at a relatively rapid pace and is … Wikipedia
The Birth of the Clinic — … Wikipedia
The Digital Humanities — The Digital Humanities, also known as Humanities Computing, is a field of study, research, teaching, and invention concerned with the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities. It is methodological by nature and… … Wikipedia
The Order of Things — … Wikipedia
archaeology — archaeologist, n. /ahr kee ol euh jee/, n. 1. the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains, esp. those that have been excavated. 2. Rare … Universalium
Archaeology and the Book of Mormon — Part of a series on The Book of Mormon … Wikipedia
Archaeology — For the magazine about archaeology, see Archaeology (magazine). Excavations at the site of Gran Dolina, in the Atapuerca Mountains, Spain, 2008 Archaeology, or archeology (from Greek ἀρχαιολογία, archaiologia … Wikipedia
The Dig (novel) — infobox Book | name = The Dig title orig = translator = image caption = author = John Preston illustrator = Clifford Harper cover artist = Clifford Harper country = United Kingdom language = English series = genre = Historical/Romance novel… … Wikipedia
archaeology — /akiˈɒlədʒi / (say ahkee oluhjee) noun 1. the systematic study of any culture, especially a prehistoric one, by excavation and description of its remains. 2. the body of knowledge relating to this study. 3. the remains of the culture of a… … Australian English dictionary