Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
5Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
The Classical Roots of Poststructuralism: Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault

The Classical Roots of Poststructuralism: Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault

Ratings: (0)|Views: 65|Likes:
Published by Purbasha Mazumdar
Uploaded from Google Docs
Uploaded from Google Docs

More info:

Published by: Purbasha Mazumdar on Nov 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/10/2013

pdf

text

original

 
The Classical Roots of Poststructuralism: Lacan, Derrida, and FoucaultAuthor(s): Paul Allen MillerSource:
International Journal of the Classical Tradition,
Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), pp. 204-225Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 30/08/2011 02:00
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
.
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
Springer 
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
 International Journal of theClassical Tradition.
http://www.jstor.org
 
The
Classical
Roots
of
Poststructuralism
acan,
Derrida,
and
Foucault*
PAULALLENMILLER
Thispaper arguesthat Frenchpoststructuralistheorydoes notrepresenta movementantithetical to Classicsand the ClassicalTradition,but should be read as its extension.Majorrecurringhemes ofpoststructuralisthoughtarearticulatedatthebeginningof the1960's in Lacan'scommentariesonSophocles' Antigoneand Plato'sSymposium.Derrida'sreadingof the Phaedruss well as hiscitationof the Platonic tradition n hisdisputewithFoucaultoverthelatter'sHistoiredelafoliefurtherconfirmtheimportanceof theHellenictradition opoststructuralism'sngagementwith occidentalphilosophy.Finally,Foucault'slate turnto Stoicismand thephilosophersofthe Romanimperialperiodcan beseenas aresponsetoand criticismofthepositionsestablishedbyLacanandDerrida.The Classicsarenotonlyrelevant tounderstandingpoststructuralistheoryandphilosophy,but actu-allydefinethetermsof its debates.
In
thispaper,I willarguethat thepopular conceptionofFrenchpoststructuralisttheoryasrepresentingan intellectual movement antitheticaltoClassicsandtheClassical Traditions rooted in aprofoundmisreadingof thetexts of its most influen-tialexponents.Suchamisreadingis not foundjust,or evenprimarily,amongclassi-cists,but oftenisperformedandpublicizedby poststructuralism'sownadvocates.'Thispaperwill demonstratethat the works ofLacan,Derrida,andFoucault,howeverrevolutionarytheirintent,cannot beproperlyunderstoodoutside the context of theirownprofoundindebtednesstoclassicalandparticularlyHellenicculture.Thus,ratherthanofferinga rationaleforignoringtheclassics,these thinkerspresentamandate for
*
A versionofthispaperwasoriginallydelivered asaplenaryaddressattheFourthMeetingof the InternationalSocietyfor the ClassicalTradition(ISCT)held inTiibingenJuly29-August2,1998.Thanksare dueto theSocietyandtotheOfficeof theProvostat Texas TechUniversityformakingthispossible.Aportionwasalsopresentedat the 1999meetingof theClassical Associationofthe Middle Westand South in Cleveland. The authorwouldlike toacknowledgethehelpfulcommentsandrevisionssuggestedbyProfessorsWolfgangHaase,BruceClarke,and SharonDiane Nell. Allremainingaults arestubbornlymyown.1.See forexampleRichlin'saccount(1998:165-67)of howmanyof Foucault'strongestfemi-nist advocatesviewthe last twovolumes ofFoucault'sHistoryofSexuality,which referrespectivelyto GreeceandRome,asunimportantf notaberrant.As RichlinandJamesonbothnote,thedenialofhistoryhas beenacommonstraininmuchAnglo-Americanpoststructuralistwork(Jameson1991:405-6).Paul Allen Miller, Program in Comparative Literature,Department of French and Classics,UniversityofSouthCarolina,Columbia,SC29208,USA.InternationalJournalofthe ClassicalTradition,Vol. 5, No.2,Fall1998,pp.204-225.
 
Miller 205theircontinuedstatus asprivilegedinterlocutors in serious intellectualdebate.Thephilosophyof thepresent,astheydemonstrate,ismost authenticwhenthoughtinrelationtoitspast.Indeed,as Foucault himself hasargued,it ispreciselyin order toremakeone'srelationto theworld,tothinkagain,totransformhoughtradically,thattheconfrontationwith thegenealogyofthepresentisnecessary(1994b:580-81;1994c:612;Kremer-Marietti 985:247, 251-52,261,277-78).Poststructuralism, hen,is betterthoughtof ascontinuingourdialoguewithantiquitythanasrepudiatingt.Thisisnot tosaythatthereadingsof classical texts offeredbythese thinkers arenecessarilythebestor the mostimportantfromaphilological perspective.Theirgoalisnotsimplytotransmit thepast.Indeed,theirreadingsarepartialandoften avow-edly partofalargersocial,political,andphilosophicalagenda.But this ishardlyuniquetopoststructuralism.tis,infact,thestoryofthereceptionofClassicalAntiq-uityfrom CallimachustoHegel,Sartre,and Camus. We do not in the first instanceread Racine'simitationsofEuripides, Pope'sofHorace,orPound'sHomageo SextusPropertiusolearn abouttheinherentnatureof their ancientmodels,buttosee how theClassicalTraditioncontinuestoserveasasource,provocationand touchstoneagainstwhichsubsequentwestern intellectualandliterarycreationsaretested. The Frenchpoststructuralistsstandin much the same relation to thefoundingtexts of occidentalcivilizationasRacine,Pope,or Pound:adoptingastanceatonce critical,contempo-rary,andself-consciouslyindialoguewith tradition.Beforeexaminingthetextsthemselves,however,a word or two on theoriginsandcharacteristicsofpoststructuralismare inorder.2As the name itselfindicates,poststructuralismslessa coherent school orbodyof doctrine than a reactionto,andcritical revisionof,Saussurianlinguisticsand the structuralistiterarycriticismandanthropologyfoundedon it that dominated Frenchhoughtinthe late fiftiesandearlysixties.Indeed,in oneearly,influentialAmericanaccountof theirwork, Lacan,Derrida,andFoucault arethemselves labeled structuralistsJameson1972:101-216).One rea-son forthisidentificationwas their concern with discourse and theregularitiesoflanguage,animportantfeatureof structuralism.Yet all three soonrejectedthistag.Thereasonsfortheir aversion tothe structuralist abelgobeyondasimple unwilling-nessto becategorizedunderageneralizingrubric.For,whileacceptingstructuralism'sfocuson thedetermining poweroflanguageaswellas itsrejectionof Sartreanxisten-tialisthumanism,thepoststructuralistsaw discourse notas anatemporal,synchronicsystem,inthemannerofSaussure,but as a set ofhistoricallyspecific,and thus con-testable,norms(Flynn1994:29, 31;
J.
Miller 1993:135, 148, 161;Palmer 1990:25;Jameson1972:139;1991:12).Poststructuralism, herefore,has apoliticaland ethicalvocationthatwasoften foundwantinginclassicalstructuralism.Thusinthe case ofFoucault,forexample,hisrejectionofhumanismand othermodelsoftheselfastheoriginofmeaningdid not lead himtoembracestructuralism'sapoliticalscientism,but rathertofoster various formsof local resistancetopowerwhereverthey mightbe found. He was thus active insupportingthosewhosoughttoresistthecoercivepowersof thepenal system,thenormalizingdiscourse ofpsychia-trists,psychologists,andsexologists,aswellasthe sclerotic andself-perpetuating"revolutionary"partiesand statesofEasternEurope(Macey1993:203-31,257-352,378-414,436-56;
J.
Miller1993:165-207;Jameson1991:203;Taylor1989:488).Forhim,
2.Fortwoaccessible ntroductionsopoststructuralism,eeEagleton(1996:11048)and New-ton(1997:112-41).

Activity (5)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
pschil liked this
Shari West liked this
TijaNa ZuVic liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->