Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a Foucauldian approach to theorising disability. Do you agree that Foucault’s “historicist approach to…subjectivity, identity, experience, race, sexuality
Adopting a Foucauldian approach to theorising disability
What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a Foucauldian approach to theorising disability
Do you agree that Foucault’s “historicist approach to…subjectivity, identity, experience, race, sexuality, and the material body has greater explanatory power and transgressive potential for disability theory” (p. 10)? Finally, what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A Foucauldian notion of discourse (1) holds that:
Firstly, discourse is a culturally constructed representation of reality, not an exact copy
Secondly, discourse constructs knowledge and thus governs, through the production of categories of knowledge and assemblages of texts, what it is possible to talk about and what is not (the taken for granted rules of inclusion/exclusion). As such, it re/produces both power and knowledge simultaneously
Thirdly, discourse defines subjects framing and positioning who it is possible to be and what it is possible to do
Further, power circulates throughout society and, while hierarchised, is not simply a top-down phenomenon
Finally, it is possible to examine regimes of power through the historicised deconstruction of systems or regimes of meaning-making constructed in and as discourse, that is to see how and why some categories of thinking and lines of argument have come to be generally taken as truths while other ways of thinking/being/doing are marginalised.
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