Michel Foucault: The lecture that changed our thinking forever

Foucault develops concern about the power of the ‘wild’ discourse from the circumstances of his own speech: he would like not to have to begin to have arrived in the discourse before he has to speak. In retrospect it becomes clear where this fear comes from, as he says, as seen, that the truth has something to be taken for granted from the inside and only reveals its threat potential when viewed from the outside.

Last but not least, the institutions, including those before which Foucault is now speaking, serve to tame this fear. But what if it were exactly the other way around? If all institutions were not the external instances of control over the discourse, but represented places where discourse becomes possible. Does it exist at all – outside of theoretical abstraction the Discourse, a discourse in and of itself that would precede all social practice? Isn’t all speech always already included in situations in which it fulfills certain functions?


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