Read The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language by Michel Foucault A.M. Sheridan Smith Online


Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.Madness, sexuality, power, knowledge—are these facts of life or simply parts of speech? In a series of works of astonishing brilliance, historian Michel Foucault excavated the hidden assumptions that govern the way we live and the way we think.The Archaeology of Knowledge begins at the level of “things aLibrarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.Madness, sexuality, power, knowledge—are these facts of life or simply parts of speech? In a series of works of astonishing brilliance, historian Michel Foucault excavated the hidden assumptions that govern the way we live and the way we think.The Archaeology of Knowledge begins at the level of “things aid” and moves quickly to illuminate the connections between knowledge, language, and action in a style at once profound and personal. A summing up of Foucault’s own methodological assumptions, this book is also a first step toward a genealogy of the way we live now.Challenging, at times infuriating, it is an absolutely indispensable guide to one of the most innovative thinkers of our time....

Title : The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language
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ISBN : 9780394711065
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Number of Pages : 256 Pages
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The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language Reviews

  • David
    2019-06-17 14:30

    I might as well admit it up front. The reason I bought this book last week was that the cover was hot. Hot as in attractive. It wooed me. (No, it's not this 1980s green-and-purple nightmare you see on your computer monitor now. As usual, most of the Goodreads librarians are too busy playing hall monitor and tossing Otis's salad in the Goodreads Feedback group to attend to cover design updates. So we're left with this cover. An unusually competent librarian has since added the cover and it appears on this page.) (Did Patrick Nagel dabble in pomo?)So apparently I am a cheap graphic design slut who can be had by any well-dressed taker. I'll just go ahead and own my shallowness. But imagine my surprise (won't you) when I got home, Foucault-in-hand, so to speak, and came eye-to-eye with the ugly yet totally tubular 80s edition from Pantheon already on my shelf! It was actually bookmarked with a Target receipt (for cat food, cheap wine, cottage cheese, et al) from December 2004... on page 14! I never even made it out of the introduction before I reshelved this ugly fucker!What was the reason? Too dense? Too boring? Distracted maybe? Whatever the case, I'm going to assume that if the cover had at least made an effort (aesthetically) I would have zipped right through it as if V.C. Andrews wrote it. Didn't I finish Discipline and Punish and Madness and Civilization? You bet your ass I did. Because those covers, while not boner-inducing, were more appealing than this one. At least in a bargain-basement-Magritte-becomes-a-Scientologist kind of way.So while I was defecating just now, I read the first two pages in the new Vintage edition, and I can already tell you that it's greatly benefited by Peter Mendelsund's cover design. I mean, the cover made reading it totally not horrible this time! Admittedly, I haven't made it to the upper limit of my first attempt (Page 14), so it still has time to tank. But I already enjoy holding the book much more. Alright. I admitted that I'm a shallow design bimbo, so I guess I should lay it all out there now... There's really very little chance I'll finish this thing, is there? Maybe if I do two pages a day on the crapper. Baby steps, right? I just don't have the mind for this kind of thing anymore. Plus, whenever I think of Foucault in my head (because where else would I think of him really?), I picture Telly Savalas -- because they were both bald and most often photographed in the 1970s. I even picture the lollipop. But in my head, he has the voice of the black bald guy who was on the 7UP commercials in the 1980s ('The uncola!'). How am I supposed to take this amalgamated human being seriously when he's telling me that my assumptions about knowledge are dumb?Wow. I'm really setting myself up for failure here. Did I ever mention that when I was young, my vocational ambition was to be one of the people who dressed up like characters at Disney World? Yeah, that didn't work out either... So why should this? {Despairing sigh.}

  • Lily
    2019-06-01 19:35

    I mean, it's amazing, but it is also kind of boring.

  • Rachel Smalter Hall
    2019-06-09 13:39

    One of my dear friends told me that she believed Foucault had made feminism possible for women. He also made me want to put a stick in my eye, while I was reading this book. Really, Foucault? Do you really have to be so damned inscrutable??The rewards for making it to the end of Archaeology of Knowledge are so worth it, though. In his own way, Foucault pokes and prods until he completely convinces you that disciplines are little more than arbitrary, fragile, man-made constructions--artificial borders used by institutions to police subversive voices and perpetuate coercive social hierarchies. Wow. I just hope you get there before you put a stick in your eye.

  • يوسف زهدى
    2019-05-28 20:56

    كتاب فلسفي مرهق, فكرته الأساسية في تحليل مباديء العلوم والمعرفة عن طريق تكسير العلوم المتدارسة وتأريخها والعودة لأصولها عن طريق محاولة مستنيرة لحذف التأثر باللغة المحيطة والمجتمع (او ده خلاصة اللي أنا فهمته من الكتاب و في الأرجح لم استفد من كل او بالكاد نصف ما فيه)اعتقد وبشدة إن موضوع الكتاب متميز ويستحق الدراسة أكتر, لكن لغة الكتاب فعلا مرهقة وصعبة على القاريء المتوسط اللي زي حالاتي, اعتقد برضه إن ممكن مؤلفين تانيين يكتبوا في نفس الموضوع باستخدام لغة ابسط ومفردات وامثلة أسهل عشان ناس أكتر تستفيد من الموضوع والفكرة

  • Luís C.
    2019-06-08 18:42

    More than explaining a horizon of intelligibility, Foucault is simply describing a logical open space in which there is a certain discourse. To open this logical space, Foucault restores exegesis of significant monuments left by mankind, who had been the concern of traditional humanism, by quasi-structuralist development sets of insignificant elements.The notion of rarity, by Foucault, allows precisely identify what is rigorous and meaningful for a time, without thereby archaeologist shall have to accept that must be for him too.Presentation Note

  • Dave
    2019-06-18 19:40

    Dense. Dense. Dense. Also pretty brilliant. I had to slog through this one just to make sure the main ideas I'm building off of for my thesis aren't being misrepresented (a recurring nightmare of mine...[at my thesis defense] 'So, did you actually read Foucault?'). This man's mind works so differently from others', and because he's so crazy smart, he spends most of his time justifying the possibility of his ideas. I have a hunch that an abridged version of this one would be all of 50-odd pages, though the journey through all the justification is all part of the fun, right? 40 years later, I think Foucault's thinking has trickled down enough through higher education to make his main premises seem almost self-evident to the modern student. I fear the translator may have represented too faithfully some of Foucault's ranting tendencies and penchants for sentence fragments, but I hesitate to blame too much of the reading difficulty on the translator. What more can I say? Foundational, paradigm-changing, and one of the hardest things I've ever read.

  • Ellen
    2019-06-22 18:43

    i am to-read this book because i like to be simultaneously amazed and kind of bored.

  • Bookfreak
    2019-06-05 17:36

    Αρκετά απαιτητικό ανάγνωσμα που σκιαγραφεί τους δρόμους που θα ακολουθήσει η σκέψη του Φουκώ στα επόμενα έργα του.

  • Lance
    2019-05-28 20:37

    This is no doubt one of the most important methodological texts written for the humanities. The applications are endless. Foucault's apparatus is somewhat bulky and almost unusable in places. I do not think that the entire book could be applied to one specific project. I see this as more a tool bag from which a scholar might take out particular tools to help see histories and discourses in different ways. In this way, The Archeology of Knowledge is not so much a work of theory, as it is a method of invention.

  • Seth Pierce
    2019-06-07 14:56

    My three stars has nothing to do with Foucault's brilliant deconstruction of language, but rather the achievement of maximum verbosity. I think this book represents a lifetime of commas and semicolons which make the text difficult to follow at times. While the level of critique is impressive, I can't help but think an appendix or twelve may have done this work a service in ensuring the reader tracked with all the micro-arguments and not just the macro-argument. That being said, this work reveals how our categories and unities in various disciplines are social constructs and not self-evident realties. This isn't to deny reality or truth, but it does help the reader appreciate all the nuances that go into subjects like history or science, as well as the various forces that shape them. If you are patient, then proceed with a read.

  • LunaBel
    2019-05-29 20:54

    This is the sort of book that you feel that is brilliant, that brings something substantial to the humanities, a book which was read and reread and continues to amaze, yet you cant wait to finish it and go back to critics, who had enough patience to depict it sentence by sentence, because you are bored with the actual book.   

  • Sayeed Mohd
    2019-05-31 20:50

    Among other things I like the book for the way it traverses meanings to reveal newer sense in words, and that in almost every sentence.

  • sologdin
    2019-06-19 21:33

    Pre-genealogical Foucault. Labor intensive, but very much worth it.A professor recommended it to me in the early 90s, along with Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition and Jane Flax's Thinking Fragments as the essential texts to read for literary theory. (Another professor with a different theoretical background recommended concurrently therewith Eagleton's Ideology, Brantlinger's Crusoe's Footprints, and Belsey's Critical Practice; I dutifully read all that stuff, and be advised that the second set is both more Marx-oriented and more introductory).I didn't get around to really understanding the Foucault text until my second crack at it, right after tropical storm Cindy in July 2005, a brief little hiccough that shut down the power everywhere in New Orleans for a long weekend, as preparation for our long Katrina durance. The only place that I found with electricity right after Cindy was a little tavern in uptown NOLA, Le Bon Temps Roule, a joint well known around these parts. (Everyone needs to have a good hurricane reading list for when the electricity fails.)How the Bon Temps still had air conditioning and whatnot I do not know, but the place was packed, with everyone sharing tables and booths. I ended up sitting with several different groups, and the cat next to me one time ignored my book shield (the Foucault) in order to explain how 'some punks thwew twash on my wesidence last night,' about which he was very disturbed. (Hello, tropical storm? Bueller?) He then transitioned from that into noticing my wedding band (recently then rendered null by divorce) and buggered off, as he had been hitting on a 'mawwied man.' FFS. Thing is, I had basically the same response when reading volume one of the History of Sexuality, so obviously there's just something about reading Foucault in public, no matter how difficult or abstract the writing may be.

  • Dusty
    2019-06-07 17:53

    I think it's helpful to think of this book, which I admit I struggled through, as something of the introduction to the methodology that would later result in relative page-turners like Discipline and Punish and the three volumes of The History of Sexuality. Of course, Foucault himself would hate this: One of his arguments is that scholars remain committed to the antiquated notion that authors repeat themselves across their texts. Ultimately, the point is that in excavating history we should seek "relations" that enable discursive practices -- rather than search for transcendental "truths" beneath repetitions. While reading, I put as much thought into Foucault's arguments as into why I find his books beasts. I decided it's the combination of two factors: (1) After several decades influencing scholarship, he has become somewhat "obvious." In 2013, I don't think there's anybody left who needs to be awakened from boring structuralism. And yet, (2) despite the obviousness of his arguments, they're still incredibly hard to extract from his abstract (and repetitive) prose. Recommended, but more because it's hard to avoid than because it's a joy.

  • Avie Flanagan Vaughan
    2019-06-25 19:50

    Another author whose entire oeuvre, essentially, changed the course of my life as a critical thinker. When I read this, I had been in a sort of Jane Austen / the Romantic poets phase for quite some time, and I was utterly bored with literature, with studying literature, with repeatedly canvassing the same tired books. Then I found Garcia Marquez and Foucault, I discovered the genuine critical theory of literature, and I embarked upon an infatuation with semiotics, (post)structuralist, and postmodernism that has continued into the present and influenced the way I consider literature, writing, language and, by extension, the world.

  • Karen
    2019-06-25 21:43

    I hate to say that the Emperor has no clothes and perhaps this wasn't the best book to begin my Foucalt journey with; however... I found it to be completely rediculous, meticulous, superfluous, and unnecessary. Certainly there are nuggets of lucid and intriguing points buried in his winding and verbose prose. The reality is that no one should have to take the time currently required to make sense of what he is attempting to say (language and words have power). Even for a frenchman in translation, this work flies past the line of acceptable loquaciousness

  • Jonathan Lyons
    2019-06-12 15:29

    The Ur text, especially the appended text of Foucault's inaugural lecture at the College de France. Essential for understanding the divide between our discursive selves and the non-discursive reality that silently surrounds us.

  • Katie
    2019-06-09 21:39

    Grad school read

  • Mark Bowles
    2019-06-04 20:31

    A Theory of Discourse1. The archaeological analysis of the human sciences was meant to reveal the rules of formation, and modes of organization of thought which eluded the consciousness of the scientist yet were fundamental to scientific discourse2. Archaeology then permitted Foucault to discuss the transformations in the field of historical knowledge3. Two ways to construct a history of thoughta) To preserve the sovereignty of the subject. To see an uninterrupted continuityb) Foucault’s way. Decenters the sovereign subject. Emphasis on the analysis of the rules of formation through which groups of statements achieve unity as a science, text, or theory. The history of thought is a series of discontinuities.4. Intent of book: To uncover the principles and consequences of an autochthonous transformation that is taking place in the field of historical knowledge [15]. a) It is a text which formulates descriptions about a neglected field, namely the relation between statementsb) This is not structuralism [16] (use cultural signs to reconstruct systems of relationships)c) Main theme: To discuss an alternative more of investigation (archaeology) appropriate for a neglected domain of objects (statements)5. Four ways to determine if a group of statements form a unitya) Reference to a common object of analysisb) Presence of a certain manner of reference or mode of statementc) Deployment of a system of permanent and coherent conceptsd) Evidence of an identity and persistence of a theoretical themeC. Archaeology1. It is the description of the archive, literally what may be spoken in a discourse2. The ultimate objective of archaeological analysis is to document the conditions of existence and the practical field in which it is deployed3. Archaeological analysis represents an abandonment of the history of ideas. 4 areas of differencea) The attribution of innovation [151]: Archaeology is not concerned with innovation but a regularity among statementsb) The analysis of contradictions: Archaeology looks for contradictions because this is what is to be analyzesc) Comparative descriptions: The history of ideas uses this to find unity. Archaeology looks for disunityd) The mapping of transformations: Archaeology does. No event successionD. Archaeology and Science1. Archaeology has been confined to the field of human sciences2. Science is merely one region of archaeology, one field of knowledge3. What is sciences role in the field of knowledge?a) Archaeology attempts to demonstrate in a positive manner how science functions as an element of knowledge4. Four types of threshold from which a discursive formation might emergea) Threshold of positivity: When a single system for the formation of statements emerges [186]b) Threshold of epistemologization: When a model for describing norms is establishedc) Threshold of Scientificity: When the epistemological conforms to lawsd) Threshold of Formilization: When a scientific discourse defines its own axioms5. One conclusion to be drawn from this is that the emergence of science is not the result of the linear accumulation of truths, or an evolution of reason6. Three types of historical analysisa) Formilization: Mathematics and the process of retrieval of past events as an integral part of its own development b) Scientificity: The trajectory with which science emerges from a prescientific foundationc) Epistemologization: The level of archaeology where an attempt is made to reveal discursive practices giving rise to knowledge

  • Chris Radjenovich
    2019-06-14 14:43

    I will not lie when I say this is a book I will be going back to for a long time to come. Despite coming out of it understanding the generality of the topic, the language used is dense, frustrating, and at times extremely redundant. There are times where I read the same chapter three times in a roe just to grasp the essence of what Foucault was saying. And despite it, I know I will have to return to this book many time in the future.But the fact that I'm willing to come back to it proves the how breathtaking Foucault lays out the possibility of his analysis of knowledge, discourse, and specificity. He is not proposing a model of analysis to be applied everywhere, and does not get rid of the idea that his own analysis will be analysed by another one in the future. He does not criticize a discourse and act as an independent subject; in fact, he has knowledge that the language his is using traps him in a discursive formation looking at others. This may come to some people as "absurd" or "useless" because in the end, no "end", no "truth", or no "continuity" in Foucault's thought is established. Yet the essence of his book is the disappointment of the remainder of "modernist" or "Enlightened" thinkers of today; he is not trying to disprove systems of truth or science, but on the contrary is trying to get rid of their self-evidence. This in part explains the complexity of the language used by Foucault, because he does not want to fall into the same trap by assuming the supposed self-evidence of his own analysis. Hence, what he proposes is a means, and not an ends, to looking at fields of knowledge. What he proposes is not breaking out of the barriers that language constrains on us, since to do that is impossible. What he is prepossessing is to be aware of those barriers.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-28 18:48

    This book is great. Someone called it boring. Fool! It's the clearest thing Foucault has ever written, while still dipping into the occasional grammatically-challenged (albeit poetic) run-on sentences and drama I have always known and loved. It's best read as the closing of a series of books in which Foucault is analyzing (while trying to formulate a way of analyzing) institutions. It works well on its own but if you really want to see where Foucault is coming from read, in order: Madness and Civilization, The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things, Archaeology of Knowledge. The Discourse on Language (in the appendix of this copy) was a bonus, and more clearly demonstrates Foucault's critical orientation. Foucault's approach to scholarship has always been conversational, but that comes across most explicitly in Archaeology. The short, snappy chapters make it a quick read and key terms are helpfully italicized. One suspects Foucault actually listened to an editor! Seriously though, read it.

  • Raúl Vázquez
    2019-06-15 21:55

    El importante compositor francés, Olivier Messiaen, escribió una obra teórica sobre los diversos aspectos rítmicos, melódicos y conceptuales desarrollados por él mismo y vertidos en su basta obra. Si hay un texto en las ciencias humanas que se equipare al elaborado por Messiaen en la música, es definitivamente La Arqueología del Saber. Foucault, en una línea heredera de Althusser y conocedor de lo "exótico" de su análisis, elabora en esta obra una síntesis de su propuesta meta-epistemológica para poder apresar, a través de su muy particular forma de abordar el discurso, las concepciones que producen un saber-poder, utilizado para ejercer relaciones de dominación. Bastante útil si uno se decide a leer otros textos del autor como Vigilar y Castigar o Historia de la Sexualidad.

  • Mohammed Hamad
    2019-06-09 18:43

    الكثير من الهدم والتقويض، القليل من الإصلاح والتوضيح، المنهج الأركيولوجي يتشابه في بعض الأمور مع البنيوية والفينومينولوجيا بالرغم من مهاجمته الشديدة لهم، ويختلف بشكل رئيسي في كونه يدرس الخطابات ذاتها وعلاقتها بالخطابات والتصورات الأخرى والنظام التي نشأت داخله ليبين أوجه الثورات الفكرية والتحولات والانقطاعات ومن ثم تهافت فكرة الغائية والتواصلية التاريخية والفكرية والمركزية المتعالية للوعي الإنساني، ولكنه يخرج نفسه من مجال النقد ولا يحاول جعل منهجه أساسا لأي علم أو فلسفة ولا عجب أن فوكو قد تخلى عنه فيما بعد.

  • ryan bears
    2019-06-18 19:35

    i swear, once your done reading foucault you feel as if you've taken in something deep. but the whole time im reading im like get to the point - sometimes he does. discourse, yup. this book has his famous remarks in the intro: "don't ask me who i am, don't ask me to stay the same blah blah... i hate that line. sounds like some hippie on a mundane acid trip. no wonder he moved to san francisco.

  • Cryn Johannsen
    2019-06-20 17:43

    One of Foucault's more difficult works, but a must read for anyone who wishes to understand his thought. It is absolutely foundational in how Foucault conceives of history and change.

  • Jenni Burgess
    2019-06-23 20:38

    An important bit of theory on the subjective nature of all history, and how we might best understand it by approaching it with an archeologist's mindset and methods.

  • Sauli
    2019-05-29 17:37

    I'm so post-modern now, am I not?

  • Jacob
    2019-06-16 18:43

    By far the sassiest Foucault book I've read.

  • Daniel
    2019-06-09 18:32


  • Domhnall
    2019-06-06 14:54

    There are practical and concise explanations of discourse and discourse analysis, including good summaries of Foucault’s approach. This is not one of them. If asked to recommend a book by Foucault, I would suggest a different one which I reviewed earlier this year: I, Pierre Rivière, having slaughtered my mother, my sister, and my brother...: A Case of Parricide in the 19th Century by Michel Foucault (Editor), Frank Jellinek, (Translator). It is more fun and more effective as a guide to start thinking in the way Foucault advocates. If asked for a good introduction to Discourse analysis, I suggest this lecture on YouTube: the same, it is almost always a good practice to read major thinkers in their own words and not rely entirely on the accounts given by others and I do not want to drive you away from this book. I cannot say the book is badly written. It does follow a clear and coherent structure, with brief chapters each tackling its own, specific problem area, and collectively undertaking a systematic exploration of the topic. All that makes it manageable and accessible enough. But it suffers from prolixity: writing that is extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length. Some people may like this, as some people like Proust, but the following really is only a short part of a much longer passage on the same lines: As has already become clear, I am not trying to say here what I once tried to say in this or that concrete analysis, or to describe the project that I had in mind, the obstacles that I encountered, the attempts that I was forced to abandon, the more or less satisfactory results that I managed to obtain; I am not describing an affective trajectory in order to indicate what should have been and what will be from now on: I am trying to elucidate in itself - in order to measure it and determine its requirements - a possibility of description that I have used without being aware of its constraints and resources; rather than trying to discover what I said and what I might have said, I shall try to reveal, in its own regularity - a regularity that I have not yet succeeded in mastering - what made it possible to say what I did… [pp127, 128]If you are not discouraged by this excerpt and this self indulgent style then the experience of reading this book will be better than tolerable and it frequently comes alive with insightful passages. The strength of the book is that it gives a definite sense of being enabled to follow Foucault’s line of thought as he works through a succession of issues and challenges, exploring his topic from many angles and seeking to pin down its real significance. It is evident that his conclusions, even at the end of the book, are very provisional and his theory is still incomplete. That need not detract from its value as an exposition of Foucault’s thinking process. On the other hand this is no textbook. Arguably, it’s intended for well informed readers, to whom explicit references are not necessary, but in any case he pursues his own thinking without pausing to explain history, context or sources to the reader. I think the book can be read on its own terms without having much background in this academic field, but on the other hand I think it will be appreciated better among those with a background that prepares them for the book and enables them to read it critically and with an ability to make relevant comparisons. Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that Foucault came up with all this theory as a solitary genius without influences is simply not reading him properly and indeed also lacks a proper sense of irony. Some Quotes: they are not brief because he is not brief. Concerning these large groups of statements with which we are so familiar - and which we call medicine, economics, or grammar - I have asked myself on what their unity could be based. On a full, tightly packed, continuous, geographically well-defined field of objects? What appeared to me were rather series of gaps, intertwined with one another, interplays of differences, distances, substitutions, transformations. On a definite, normative type of statement? I found formulations of levels that were much too different and functions that were much too heterogenous to be linked together and arranged in a single figure, and to stimulate, from one period to another, beyond individual oeuvres, a sort of great, uninterrupted text. On a well defined alphabet of notions? One is confronted with concepts that differ in structure and in the rules governing their use, which ignore or exclude one another, and which cannot enter the unity of a logical architecture. On the permanence of a thematic? What one finds are rather various strategic possibilities that permit the activation of incompatible themes, or again, the establishment of the same theme in different groups of statement. Hence the idea of describing these dispersions themselves, of discovering whether… one cannot discern a regularity: an order in their successive appearance, correlations in their simultaneity, assignable positions in a common space, a reciprocal functioning, … instead of reconstituting chains of inference (as one often does in the history of the sciences or of philosophy), instead of drawing up tables of differences (as the linguists do), it would describe systems of dispersion. [p41]...not treating discourses as groups of signs (signifying elements referring to contents or representations) but as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak. Of course, discourses are composed of signs, but what they do is more than use these signs to designate things. It is this more that renders them irreducible to the language (langage) and to speech. It is this more that we must reveal and describe. [p54]By system of formation, then, I mean a complex group of relations that function as a rule: it lays down what must be related, in a particular discursive practice, for such and such an enunciation to be made, for such and such a concept to be used, for such and such a strategy to be organized. To define a system of formation in its specific individuality is therefore to characterize a discourse or a groups of statements by the regularity of a practice. [p82]The discursive formations: “four groups of rules by which I characterized a discursive formation” [p90]: viz the formation of objects, the formation of enunciative modalities, the formation of concepts and the formation of strategies. A series of signs will become a statement on condition that it possesses ‘something else’. [p100]A sentence cannot be non-significant; it refers to something, by virtue of the fact that it is a statement. [p102] In a novel we know that the author of the formulation is that real individual whose name appears on the title page of the book (we are still faced with the problem of the dialogue, and sentences purporting to express the thoughts of a character; we are still faced with the problem of texts published under a pseudonym; and we know all the difficulties that these duplications raise for practitioners of interpretative analysis when they wish to relate these formulations, en bloc, to the author of the text, to what he wanted to say, to what he thought, in short, to that great silent, hidden, uniform discourse on which they build that whole pyramid of different levels) : but, even apart from those authorities of formulation that are not identical with the individual author, the statements of the novel do not have the same subject when they provide, as if from the outside, the historical and spatial setting of the story, when they describe things as they would be seen by an anonymous, invisible, neutral individual who moves magically among the characters of the novel, or when they provide, as if by an immediate, internal decipherment, the verbal version of what is silently experienced by a character. Although the author is the same in each case, although he attributes them to noone other than himself, although he does not invent a supplementary link between what he is himself and the text that one is reading, these statements do not presuppose the same characteristics for the enunciating subject; they do not imply the same relation between the subject and what is being stated. [p105]So the subject of a statement should not be regarded as identical with the author of the formulation - either in substance or in function. … It is a particular, vacant place that may in fact be filled by different individuals… If a proposition, a sentence, a group of signs can be called ‘statement’, it is not therefore because, one day, someone happened to speak them or put them in some concrete form of writing; it is because the position of subject can be assigned. To describe a formulation qua statement does not consist in analysing the relations between the author and what he says (or wanted to say, or said without wanting to); but in determining what position can and must be occupied by any individual if he is to be the subject of it. [p107]We can now understand the reason for the equivocal meaning of the term discourse, which I have used and abused in many different senses: in the most general and vaguest way, it denoted a group of verbal performances, and by discourse, then, I meant that which was produced (perhaps all that was produced) by the groups of signs. But I also meant a group of acts of formulation, a series of sentences or propositions. Lastly - and it is this meaning that was finally used (together with the first, which served in a provisional capacity) - discourse is constituted by a group of sequences or signs, in so far as they are statements, that is, in so far as they can be assigned particular modalities of existence. And if I succeed in showing, as I shall try to do shortly, that the law of such a series is precisely what I have so far called discursive formation, if I succeed in showing that the discursive formation really is the principle of dispersion and redistribution, not of formulations, not of sentences, not of propositions, but of statements (in the sense in which I have used this word), the term discourse can be defined as a group of statements that belong to a system of formation; thus I shall be able to speak of clinical discourse, economic discourse, the discourse of natural history, psychiatric discourse. [pp120, 121] There are verbal performances that are identical from the point of view of grammar (vocabulary, syntax, and the language (langage) in general), that are also identical from the point of view of logic (from the point of view of propositional structure, or of the deductive system in which it is placed) but which are enunciatively different…. ..We must distinguish, then, between linguistic analogy (or translatability), logical identity ( or equivalence) and enunciative homogeneity. It is with homogeneities and those alone that archaeology is concerned. [p162]Archaeology, and this is one of its principal themes, may thus constitute the tree of derivation of a discourse; that of Natural History for example. It will place at the root, as governing statements, those that concern the definition of observable structures and the field of possible objects, those that describe the forms of description and the perceptual codes it can use, those that reveal the most general possibilities of characteristization and thus opens up a whole domain of concepts to be constructed and, lastly, those that, while constituting a strategic choice, leave room for the greatest number of subsequent options. [p164]Nothing would be more false than to see in the analysis of discursive formations an attempt at totalitarian periodization, whereby from a certain moment and for a certain time, everyone would think in the same way, in spite of surface differences. say the same thing through a polymorphous vocabulary and produce a sort of great discourse that one could travel over in any direction. On the contrary, archaeology describes a level of enunciative homogeneity that has its own temporal articulations, and which does not carry with it all the other forms of identity and difference that are to be found in language and at this level, it establishes an order, hierarchies, a whole burgeoning that excludes a massive, amorphous synchrony, given totally once and for all. In those confused unities that we call ‘periods’, it reveals, with all their specificity, ‘enunciative periods’ that are articulated, but without being confused with them, upon the time of concepts, on theoretical phases, on stages of formalization and of linguistic development. [p165]This book was written simply in order to overcome certain preliminary difficulties. … I know how irritating it can be to treat to treat discourses in terms not of the gentle, silent, intimate consciousness that is expressed in them, but of an obscure set of anonymous rules. How unpleasant it is to reveal the limitations and necessities of a practice where one is used to seeing, in all its transparency, the expressions of genius and freedom. How unbearable it is, in view of how much of himself everyone wishes to put, thinks he is putting of ‘himself’ into his own discourse, when he speaks. How unbearable it is to cut up, analyse, combine, rearrange all those texts that have now returned from silence, without ever the transfigured face of the author appearing. ‘What! All those words piled up one after another, all those marks made on all that paper and presented to innumerable pairs of eyes, all that concern to make them survive beyond the gesture that articulated them, so much piety expended in preserving them and inscribing them in men’s memories - all that and nothing remaining of the poor hand that traced them, of the anxiety that sought appeasement in them, of that completed life that has nothing but them to survive in? …. Must I suppose that in my discourse I have no survival? And that in speaking I am not banishing my death, but actually establishing it; or rather that I am abolishing all interiority in that exterior that is so indifferent to my life, and so neutral, that it makes no distinction between my life and my death? [pp231,232]