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Archaeology of knowledge pdf

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The archaeology of knowledge *. For several score years now historians have by choice been mainly interested in very lengthy periods, as though in an effort to. lesforgesdessalles.info AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would . archaeologist of knowledge to unearth these historical discursive rules and thus the whole matrix of. Source: The Archaeology of Knowledge (), publ. Routledge, The First 3 Chapters of main body of work are reproduced here.

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The archaeology of knowledge. (World of man). Translation of archeologie du savoir. Includes the author's The Discourse on Language, translation of ordre du . File:Foucault Michel Archaeology of lesforgesdessalles.info lesforgesdessalles.info (file size: MB, MIME type . The Archaeology of Knowledge. by. Michel Foucault. Identifier TheArchaeologyOfKnowledge. Identifier-arkark://t72v8ph3f. OcrABBYY.

At about the same time, in the disciplines that we call the history of ideas, the history of science, the history of philosophy, the history of thought, and the history of literature we can ignore their specificity for the moment , in those disciplines which, despite their names, evade very largely the work and methods of the historian, attention has been turned, on the contrary, away from vast unities like 'periods' or 'centuries' to the phenomena of rupture, of discontinuity. In short, the history of thought, of knowledge, of philosophy, of literature seems to be seeking, and discovering, more and more discontinuities, whereas history itself appears to be abandoning the irruption of events in favour of stable structures. Thus, in place of the continuous chronology of reason, which was invariably traced back to some inaccessible origin, there have appeared scales that are sometimes very brief, distinct from one another, irreducible to a single law, scales that bear a type of history peculiar to each one, and which cannot be reduced to the general model of a consciousness that acquires, progresses, and remembers. What types of series should be established? In short, this book, like those that preceded it, does not belong - at least directly, or in the first instance - to the debate on structure as opposed to genesis, history, development ; it belongs to that field in which the questions of the human being, consciousness, origin, and the subject emerge, intersect, mingle, and separate off.

Interruptions whose status and nature vary considerably.

The Archæology of Knowledge

There are the epistemological acts and thresholds described by Bachelard: There are the displacements and transformations of concepts: Canguilhem may serve as models; they show that the history of a concept is not wholly and entirely that of its progressive refinement, its continuously increasing rationality, its abstraction gradient, but that of its various fields of constitution and validity, that of its successive rules of use, that of the many theoretical contexts in which it developed and matured.

There is the distinction, which we also owe to Canguilhem, between the microscopic and macroscopic scales of the history of the sciences, in which events and their consequences are not arranged in the same way: Recurrent redistributions reveal several pasts, several forms of connection, several hierarchies of importance, several networks of determination, several teleologies, for one and the same science, as its present undergoes change: Serres has provided the theory of this phenomenon.


There are the architectonic unities of systems of the kind analysed by M. Lastly, the most radical discontinuities are the breaks effected by a work of theoretical transformation which establishes a science by detaching it from the ideology of its past and by revealing this past as ideological'.

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And the great problem presented by such historical analyses is not how continuities are established, how a single pattern is formed and preserved, how for so many different, successive minds there is a single horizon, what mode of action and what substructure is implied by the interplay of transmissions, resumptions, disappearances, and repetitions, how the origin may extend its sway well beyond itself to that conclusion that is never given - the problem is no longer one of tradition, of tracing a line, but one of division, of limits; it is no longer one of lasting foundations, but one of transformations that serve as new foundations, the rebuilding of foundations.

What one is seeing, then, is the emergence of a whole field of questions, some of which are already familiar, by which this new form of history is trying to develop its own theory: By what criteria is one to isolate the unities with which one is dealing; what is a science? What is a theory?

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What is a concept? What is a text? How is one to diversify the levels at which one may place oneself, each of which possesses its own divisions and form of analysis? What is the legitimate level of formalisation? What is that of interpretation? Of structural analysis?

The Archaeology of Knowledge - Wikipedia

Of attributions of causality? In short, the history of thought, of knowledge, of philosophy, of literature seems to be seeking, and discovering, more and more discontinuities, whereas history itself appears to be abandoning the irruption of events in favour of stable structures. But we must not be taken in by this apparent interchange.

Despite appearances, we must not imagine that certain of the historical disciplines have moved from the continuous to the discontinuous, while others have moved from the tangled mass of discontinuities to the great, uninterrupted unities; we must not imagine that in the analysis of politics, institutions, or economics, we have become more and more sensitive to overall determinations, while in the analysis of ideas and of knowledge, we are paying more and more attention to the play of difference; we must not imagine that these two great forms of description have crossed without recognising one another.

In fact, the same problems are being posed in either case, but they have provoked opposite effects on the surface. These problems may be summed up in a word: Of course, it is obvious enough that ever since a discipline such as history has existed, documents have been used, questioned, and have given rise to questions; scholars have asked not only what these documents meant, but also whether they were telling the truth, and by what right they could claim to be doing so, whether they were sincere or deliberately misleading, well informed or ignorant, authentic or tampered with.

But each of these questions, and all this critical concern, pointed to one and the same end: Now, through a mutation that is not of very recent origin, but which has still not come to an end, history has altered its position in relation to the document: The document, then, is no longer for history an inert material through which it tries to reconstitute what men have done or said, the events of which only the trace remains; history is now trying to define within the documentary material itself unities, totalities, series, relations.

History must be detached from the image that satisfied it for so long, and through which it found its anthropological justification: The document is not the fortunate tool of a history that is primarily and fundamentally memory; history is one way in which a society recognises and develops a mass of documentation with which it is inextricably linked.

To be brief, then, let us say that history, in its traditional form, undertook to 'memorise' the monuments of the past, transform them into documents, and lend speech to those traces which, in themselves, are often not verbal, or which say in silence something other than what they actually say; in our time, history is that which transforms documents into monuments.

In that area where, in the past, history deciphered the traces left by men, it now deploys a mass of elements that have to be grouped, made relevant, placed in relation to one another to form totalities. There was a time when archaeology, as a discipline devoted to silent monuments, inert traces, objects without context, and things left by the past, aspired to the condition of history, and attained meaning only through the restitution of a historical discourse; it might be said, to play on words a little, that in our time history aspires to the condition of archaeology, to the intrinsic description of the monument.

This has several consequences. First of all, there is the surface effect already mentioned: The problem now is to constitute series: The appearance of long periods in the history of today is not a return to the philosophers of history, to the great ages of the world, or to the periodisation dictated by the rise and fall of civilisations; it is the effect of the methodologically concerted development of series. In the history of ideas, of thought and of the sciences, the same mutation has brought about the opposite effect; it has broken up the long series formed by the progress of consciousness, or the teleology of reason, or the evolution of human thought; it has questioned the themes of convergence and culmination; it has doubted the possibility of creating totalities.

It has led to the individualisation of different series, which are juxtaposed to one another, follow one another, overlap and intersect, without one being able to reduce them to a linear schema. Thus, in place of the continuous chronology of reason, which was invariably traced back to some inaccessible origin, there have appeared scales that are sometimes very brief, distinct from one another, irreducible to a single law, scales that bear a type of history peculiar to each one, and which cannot be reduced to the general model of a consciousness that acquires, progresses, and remembers.

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Second consequence: For history in its classical form, the discontinuous was both the given and the unthinkable: Discontinuity was the stigma of temporal dislocation that it was the historian's task to remove from history. It has now become one of the basic elements of historical analysis. First, it constitutes a deliberate operation on the part of the historian and not a quality of the material with which he has to deal: Secondly, it is the result of his description and not something that must be eliminated by means of his analysis: Thirdly, it is the concept that the historian's work never ceases to specify instead of neglecting it as a uniform, indifferent blank between two positive figures ; it assumes a specific form and function according to the field and the level to which it is assigned: The notion of discontinuity is a paradoxical one: And because, in the final analysis, perhaps, it is not simply a concept present in the discourse of the historian, but something that the historian secretly supposes to be present: One of the most essential features of the new history is probably this displacement of the discontinuous: Third consequence: The project of a total history is one that seeks to reconstitute the overall form of a civilisation, the principle material or spiritual - of a society, the significance common to all the phenomena of a period, the law that accounts for their cohesion - what is called metaphorically the 'face' of a period.

Such a project is linked to two or three hypotheses; - it is supposed that between all the events of a well-defined spatio-temporal area, between all the phenomena of which traces have been found, it must be possible to establish a system of homogeneous relations: These are the postulates that are challenged by the new history when it speaks of series, divisions, limits, differences of level, shifts, chronological specificities, particular forms of rehandling, possible types of relation.

This is not because it is trying to obtain a plurality of histories juxtaposed and independent of one another: The problem that now presents itself- and which defines the task of a general history - is to determine what form of relation may be legitimately described between these different series; what vertical system they are capable of forming; what interplay of correlation and dominance exists between them; what may be the effect of shifts, different temporalities, and various rehandlings; in what distinct totalities certain elements may figure simultaneously; in short, not only what series, but also what 'series of series' - or, in other words, what 'tables' it is possible to draw up.

A total description draws all phenomena around a single centre - a principle, a meaning, a spirit, a world-view, an overall shape; a general history, on the contrary, would deploy the space of a dispersion. Fourth and last consequence: These include: All these problems are now part of the methodological field of history. This field deserves attention, and for two reasons. First, because one can see to what extent it has freed itself from what constituted, not so long ago, the philosophy of history, and from the questions that it posed on the rationality or teleology of historical development devenir , on the relativity of historical knowledge, and on the possibility of discovering or constituting a meaning in the inertia of the past and in the unfinished totality of the present.

The Archaeology Of Knowledge

Secondly, because it intersects at certain points problems that are met with in other fields - in linguistics, ethnology, economics, literary analysis, and mythology, for example. These problems may, if one so wishes, be labelled structuralism. But only under certain conditions: This epistemological mutation of history is not yet complete.

But it is not of recent origin either, since its first phase can no doubt be traced back to Marx.

But it took a long time to have much effect. Even now - and this is especially true in the case of the history of thought - it has been neither registered nor reflected upon, while other, more recent transformations - those of linguistics, for example - have been.

It is as if it was particularly difficult, in the history in which men retrace their own ideas and their own knowledge, to formulate a general theory of discontinuity, of series, of limits, unities, specific orders, and differentiated autonomies and dependences. As if, in that field where we had become used to seeking origins, to pushing back further and further the line of antecedents, to reconstituting traditions, to following evolutive curves, to projecting teleologies, and to having constant recourse to metaphors of life, we felt a particular repugnance to conceiving of difference, to describing separations and dispersions, to dissociating the reassuring form of the identical.

However, "statements" are also 'events', because, like other rules, they appear or disappear at some time. Foucault's analysis then turns towards the organized dispersion of statements, which he calls discursive formations. Foucault reiterates that the analysis he is outlining is only one possible procedure, and that he is not seeking to displace other ways of analysing discourse or render them invalid.

Foucault concludes Archaeology with responses to criticisms from a hypothetical critic which he anticipates will occur after his book is read. The philosopher Gilles Deleuze , writing in Foucault , describes The Archaeology of Knowledge as, "the most decisive step yet taken in the theory-practice of multiplicities. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Archaeology of Knowledge Cover of the French edition. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault.

Pdf archaeology of knowledge

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