Foucault pp 44-64 | Cite as

Discontinuity and Order

  • Clare O’Farrell


If the critics were undecided as to how to classify Foucault’s work, they were also undecided as to what to make of its constant changeability. In this chapter and the ones that follow, Foucault’s work will be looked at as a constantly changing body of historical and philosophical reflection. At the same time, attention will be drawn to certain structural constants which give more cohesion to his work than would first appear to be the case. In order to emphasise different aspects of Foucault’s development, the analysis has been divided into four sections. The first two deal mainly with Foucault’s earlier work, beginning with the way Foucault orders his histories and his treatment of the ‘interior limits’ of a culture,1 and then going on to the more difficult question of the relation of the Same and the Other and limits in his work. The third section is concerned with Foucault’s later work, in which the exterior limits disappear, and in which his analyses of order and his ontological theses merge. The fourth section deals with his final writings, which reintroduce the question of the limits.


Eighteenth Century Discursive Practice General Grammar Classical Thought Final Writing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 9.
    Foucault, ‘Truth and Power’, in Morris and Patton 1979, p.31; ‘Débat avec Michel Foucault’, 1980, p.43.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Foucault, ‘Deuxième entretien’, 1971, pp.191, 194; cf. ‘La situation de Cuvier’, 1970, p.86.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Foucault, ‘La Folie l’absence de l’oeuvre’, in HF (1972), pp.575, 581. This article was originally published in 1964.Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    See Foucault, ‘Les Déviations religieuses’, 1968, p.19.Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    Foucault, ‘Une Mobilisation culturelle’, 1977, p.49.Google Scholar
  6. 26.
    NC:89, xi, 197, 202. For similar notions, this time relating to the possibility of finding ‘isomorphisms’ (similarities of structure) between the texts of a given period, see Foucault, ‘Distance, aspect, origine’, 1963, pp.932–3.Google Scholar
  7. 28.
    MC:396–8, cf. p.339. For other comments on this contemporary rupture and the possible dawn of a new episteme see Foucault, ‘Entretien avec Madeleine Chapsal’, 1966, pp.14–15; ‘Foucault répond à Sartre’, 1968, p.20; ‘Deuxième entretien’, 1971, p.206; ‘L’Homme, est-il mort?’, 1966, pp.8–9; ‘La Naissance d’un monde’, 1969, p.viii; ‘Préface à la transgression’, 1963, p.761 and ‘Non au sexe roi’, 1977, p.124.Google Scholar
  8. 44.
    Foucault, ‘Réponse à une question’, 1968, p.855.Google Scholar
  9. 45.
    Foucault, ‘Deuxième entretien’ 1971, p.194.Google Scholar
  10. 50.
    Foucault, ‘Monstrosities in Criticism’, 1971, pp.57–60. ‘Steiner responds to Foucault’, Diacritics 1 (Winter 1971), p.59.Google Scholar
  11. 54.
    Foucault, ‘La Situation de Cuvier’, 1970, p.86.Google Scholar
  12. 59.
    Foucault, ‘Truth and Power’, in Morris and Patton, 1979, p.32.Google Scholar
  13. 63.
    AS:14–15; see also Foucault, ‘Réponse à une question’, 1968, p.860 and ‘Deuxième entretien’, 1971, p.191; Jacques Le Goff recommends this idea of the ‘document/monument’ to other historians 1978, p.238.Google Scholar
  14. 64.
    Foucault, ‘Débat avec Michel Foucault’, 1980, p.34.Google Scholar
  15. 68.
    Foucault, ‘Le Retour de la morale’, 1984, p.41; cf. UP:11–12, 16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Clare O’Farrell 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare O’Farrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Education StudiesBrisbane College of Advanced EducationAustralia

Personalised recommendations