Monday, November 3, 2008

A Word About Silence from Foucault

This is an excerpt from Foucault's book "The History of Sexuality: An Introduction Volume 1".

Silence itself - the things one declines to say, or is forbidden to name, the discretion that is required between different speakers - is less the absolute limit of discourse, the other side from which it is separated by a strict boundary, than an element that functions alongside the things said, with them and in relation to them within over-all strategies. There is no binary division to be made between what one says and what one does not say; we must try to determine the different ways of not saying such things, how those who can and those who cannot speak of them are distributed, which type of discourse is authorized, or which form of discretion is required in either case. There is not one but many silences, and they are an integral part of the strategies that underlie and permeate discourses.

I added the bold. This paragraph is worth contemplating for a while. I know I have been doing so.


Scott Abbott said...

I like this very much. Alex was talking after class about the formal aspects of Celan's Tubingen poem and noted that there was lots of silence on the page that I hadn't read. He'll read it for us again on Wednesday.