Discourse – [from Wolfreys – see General Resources below] – “defined by Michel Foucault as language practice: that is, language as it is used by various constituencies (the law, medicine, the church, for example) for purposes to do with power relationships between people”

Episteme – [from Wolfreys – see General Resources below] – “Michel Foucault employs the idea of episteme to indicate a particular group of knowledges and discourses which operate in concert as the dominant discourses in any given historical period. He also identifies epistemic breaks, radical shifts in the varieties and deployments of knowledge for ideological purposes, which take place from period to period”

Power – [from Wolfreys – see General Resources below] – “in the work of Michel Foucault, power constitutes one of the three axes constitutive of subjectification, the other two being ethics and truth. For Foucault, power implies knowledge, even while knowledge is, concomitantly, constitutive of power: knowledge gives one power, but one has the power in given circumstances to constitute bodies of knowledge, discourses and so on as valid or invalid, truthful or untruthful. Power serves in making the world both knowable and controllable. Yet, in the nature of power, as Foucault suggests in the first volume of his History of Sexuality, is essentially proscriptive, concerned more with imposing limits on its subjects.”

Self-positioning – [from Lois Tyson – see General Resources below] – “new historicism’s claim that historical analysis is unavoidably subjective is not an attempt to legitimize a self-indulgent, ‘anything goes’ attitude toward the writing of history. Rather, the inevitability of personal bias makes it imperative that new historicists be aware of and as forthright as possible about their own psychological and ideological positions relative to the material they analyze so that their readers can have some idea of the human ‘lens’ through which they are viewing the historical issues at hand.”

Thick description – a term developed by Clifford Geertz; [from Charles Bressler – see General Resources below]: a “term used to describe the seemingly insignificant details present in any cultural practice. By focusing on these details, one can then reveal the inherent contradictory forces at work within culture


Roisun Kubangcalingcing

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