We have never been postmodern: Latour, Foucault and the material of knowledge

Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 8, No. 4, pg. 435-454.

Susan Hekman

In We Have Never Been Modern Bruno Latour challenges the intellectual community to find an alternative to modernism that does not privilege either the discursive or the material in the construction of knowledge. A central aspect of his thesis is the rejection of postmodernism as a version of linguistic constructionism. I challenge his assessment of one postmodern, Michel Foucault, by arguing that Foucault's work successfully integrates the discursive and the material. Focusing on Foucault's theory of power, I argue that he provides a viable alternative to both modernism and linguistic constructionism that is particularly relevant to political theory. His approach to knowledge entails the intimate integration and interaction of the material and the discursive in every aspect of its constitution. I argue that his conception offers an understanding of politics and power that avoids the pitfalls of the material/discursive dichotomy.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, January 11, 2010 by nick stock
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