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[Xmca-l] Re: Foucault

I was simply responding to Paul M.'s (rhetorical?) question as to whether there might be a state of nature to which we could return that would be outside culture. I said that this is not possible for homo sapiens - we need culture to survive. Michael G. then suggested that if we can't step outside culture we cannot critique it. I replied again in the negative, and made a passing reference to Foucault who engaged in research that was critical of culture from inside: one of his ideas was to work with marginalized groups to explore ways of living that the mainstream has ignored. Larry then suggested that Foucault was following Merleau-Ponty's lead, and Phillip responded that Foucault was more influenced by Hyppolite. I countered by suggesting that Foucault's research program - exploring what he called "the historical ontology of ourselves" - in other words, how we are constituted historically (and culturally) as specific kinds of person - was at least consistent with the interests of Merleau-Ponty and Sartre.

Phew! What a tangled web we weave.


On Sep 18, 2014, at 11:35 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:

> I thought it was Martin who had mentioned Foucault's "historical ontology
> of ourselves"?
> I'd love to hear more too (note this is where Martin's book The Science of
> Qualitative Research leaves off. I'd love to hear the argument enlivened
> once again).
> Martin?
> -greg
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> My apologies if my "chaining" off your comment about cocktail parties
>> distracted from the main point of the ongoing discussion, Phillip.
>> Could you say more about what an historical ontology of oneself means? I
>> can understand the truth of the idea that In any interaction with others,
>> whether at a cocktail party or in an academic discussion group, one is
>> creating one's own history and that an autobiography is a self history from
>> ego's point of view. If one theorizes, then theorizing is a mode of
>> activity/experience that becomes the material of autobiography.
>> I am still back on David's earlier claim that cultural historical
>> approaches to understanding human development do not view data as ways of
>> testing/evaluating/improving theory. I may have gotten confused by thinking
>> that the discussion on Foucault, Merleau-P, et. Were part of that
>> discussion. A lot swirling around at once.
>> A pathway out of the thicket would be gratefully received.
>> Mike
>> On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, White, Phillip <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu
>> wrote:
>>> as you write, Martin, yes, they had similar descriptions of their work
>>> "Foucault came to describe his work overall as a "historical ontology of
>>> ourselves." Certainly both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty were philosophers on
>>> ontology, and of history."
>>> the difference is, i believe, that Foucault identified with those peoples
>>> who have been marginalized: prisoners, those deemed mentally ill, and
>>> homosexuals.  he said that his writings were autobiography.  and i've
>> come
>>> to understand my own work as a way of autobiography.  i've begun to think
>>> of theory as a way of autobiography.
>>> i believe that i recognize a great deal of autobiography performed here
>> on
>>> xmca - just as one sees autobiography performed at a cocktail party.
>>> (that's a great metaphor!)
>>> p
>> --
>> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
>> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more or
>> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
>> Gray, 2001]
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson