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The Trouble with Subjects: Feminism, Marxism and the Questions of Poststructuralism



ntroduction A prominent theme of poststructuralist theory is that the "subject" is a problematic concept. In taking this position, poststructuralism is not alone. 1 The status of the subject has long been at issue in Marxist debates about ideology, agency, structure, interests, and representation, to name only a few. Feminist theory, too, has challenged the notion of the subject in its attention to questions of identity, gender, rationality, and individuality. In the shared questioning of the subject, poststructuralist theorists, Marxists, and feminists have occasionally discovered affinity in their intellectual projects. The common problematization of the subject, then, provides an interesting opportunity to evaluate poststructuralist theory in its relationship to feminist and Marxist political concerns. On the one hand, feminism and Marxism are motivated by a need to resolve certain theoretical questions concerning the subject in order to facilitate social change. Poststructuralism, on the other hand, tends to be cynical about the possibility of social change, or of any link between theoretical understanding and change. But poststructuralist theory is not monolithic either, and the different positions taken by such thinkers as Jacques Lacan, Iulia Kriste'ia, Jacques Demda and Michel Foucault are

Studies in Political Economy 35, Summer 1991


Studies in Political Economy

useful in initiating discussion about the subject which may, in turn, prove useful for feminism and Marxism.s My intention here is to explore the problematization of the subject by examining its implications for Marxist and feminist theory and their relationship to poststructuralist theory. In the first section of the paper, I schematically lay out the reasons why the subject has always been problematic for feminist and Marxist theorists. My concern in providing a brief summation of some of the issues involved is not to enter into the debates within Marxist or feminist theory about the subject, rationality, or social change. Rather, my point is simply to suggest the myriad ways in which the subject has arisen as a concern within these theoretical problematics. The second section of the paper is devoted to explaining the way in which the subject has been theorized by poststructuralists. I found it useful to make a distinction between poststructuralist theories which base their deconstruction of the subject on language (Lacan, Derrida, Kristeva have been chosen for examples), and the work of Foucault, also a poststructuralist, whose ideas concerning the subject are less concerned with the structure of language than with his notions of discourse and his understanding of power. The particular ways in which poststructuralism treats the subject are instructive about the broader themes of poststructuralist thought, and helpful for a discussion of the relationship between poststructuralism and politics. In the final section of the paper, I conclude by indicating some parallel treatments of the subject by poststructuralist theorists on the one hand, and Marxist and feminist theorists on the other. I argue that the recovery of a "subject" in some form is one aspect of all of these theories, but the ways in which this is accomplished and grounded have important political implications which we would do well to recognize. The Subject in Question What is challenged in the poststructuralist, feminist and Marxist critiques of subjectivity is what is often called the "Cartesian subject." Descartes, writing at a time in history when the grounding of the subject in relation to God and Ie\igious\~ sanctioned 44

the economic maximizer. but one dependent upon logic. in its discussion of ideology.MacDonald/Subjects social hierarchies had lost its hold. Out of this arose a theory of the subject as unitary. can be characterized as one of internal debate over such issues as economic and structural determination versus class struggle and revolution. and representation has been thrown into doubt. and mass struggle versus the need for a vanguard party or "organic" intellectual leadership. and the impossibility of disinterested representation. The history of Marxist theory. Marx's analysis of commodity fetishism. rationality. presumed the possibility of an unproblematic relationship between reality and its accurate representation in thought. this actor had control over and made the decisions which shaped the political world. Outside the liberal problematic. As an autonomous and rational subject. the situation is different.f Additionally. has thrown questions of representation and rationality into doubt. portrayed an essential mystification between reality and appearance. A cursory review of some of the debates within Marxism is useful in revealing some of the implications of a nonCartesian view of the subject. or of the dynamics of capital as required for that change. for example. He did this by asserting the ability of subjects to reason their own existence. individualist. and of surplus labour. Within a liberal model of politics. And Descartes' emphasis on reason corresponded to the self-understanding of the new political actor . for example. autonomous. this view of the subject still prevails. the ideological mystification of commodities and capitalist relations against the scientific truth or critical reflexivity of Marxist analysis. sought to reestablish the subject's self-certainty. Marxist theory. The subject's use of reason. contradicted faith in any unmediated relationship between subjects and their world. This reality was not a sensory one. the rational selfinterested choice-maker. the individualism of the Cartesian subject was undermined in Marx's ambivalent positing either of class as the significant agent for social change. as Descartes described it. between reality and its representation in thought} This distortion of representation. The question 45 . and this faith in the subject's autonomy. and rational.

over others. Adam Przeworski has discussed the significant role of the party in class formation. some theorists suggested that it did not arise spontaneously.Studies in Political Economy of the subject's identity was initially understood as given in Marxist analysis . especially in the weakening of class composition through the alliance building and reformism of the welfare state. and positing the relative autonomy of the state from the economy in order to account for the distinction between knowledge (which was ideological) and reality.f Herbert Marcuse still fostered revolutionary dreams but turned to student and Third World movements to find his revolutionary subject. While Althusser's work apparently deprived the subject-person of an important role in social change. individual choice.? Louis Althusser adapted structuralism to the Marxist project. Lenin's work was seen to privilege some subjects. theorizing the constitution of subjects through ideological state apparatuses. his ideas also transferred the ideal of the subject (its rationality and agency) onto the social and economic struc46 ." When the Frankfurt School attempted to synthesize Freudian psychoanalysis with Marxist politics. So. but only as a result of party formation. did the importance of a Marxist analysis for the Marxist project suggest the importance of the party and of intellectuals in leading revolutionary change. in debates over class consciousness.s Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony further developed the theorization of the subject. class leadership. new debates emerged. and individual coherence in the making of revolutionary subjects. or the conscious creation by an enlightened cadre of a successful "counter-hegemonic" position. That is. too.the subject's class membership settled the issue. But the reluctance of workers to assume the mantle of a revolutionary class raised serious doubts about class consciousness and its role in social change. and turned instead to theorizing the prospects for a type of reason which could supplant the instrumental reason of the Enlightenment.f More recently. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer despaired of the possibility of a revolutionary subject. His discussion of "subjectivities" and of "organic" intellectuals problematized questions of common-sense. the revolutionary vanguard.

Much feminist theory has also had occasion to question Descartes' view of the subject. the affective world of private life is denied or devalued.MacDonald/Subjects tures. generally more embedded in the private sphere. but so is gender itself. while belief in the Cartesian subject is often explained as conducive to the maintenance of capitalism. and how has a hierarchy of values been assigned to those genders? Not only is the devaluation of women and femininity oppressive. precisely because they have not been able to accept the belief in the subject's conscious self-creation. both in his ability to exercise an autonomy and individuality that were only the prerogative of men. since the Cartesian subject can only truly act according to the principles of autonomy and reason in the public world.P. How do individuals become gendered.U Furthermore. nor the idea that gender identity or gender attributes are grounded in any sexually determined essence. Many feminists have thus taken up a position against the Cartesian subject. and thus gives rise to different values and politics. as are women's lives. some aspect of the Cartesian subject is disputed. Thompson formulated a "humanist" rejoinder to Althusser which returned agency and reason to the subject (the working class). and many others. many feminists point out. Descartes' subject. and which privileged experience and activity as the sources from which a "truer" reason and political action might emerge. is more relational and "connected" than men's.l" One of the most fruitful arenas in which feminism has explored the constitution of gender and of the gendered 47 . The contention that the Cartesian subject is an already gendered subject has raised another issue of concern to feminists. is a masculine one. according to a wide range of theorists. The problematization of an aspect of the subject's self-understanding at the very basic level of gender identity served to undercut all Cartesian confidence in the subject's origin as lying in herself and not in the world outside.12 Women's experience of reality. since it entails the assignation of social relevance to sexual differences. and in the values of superiority that were assigned to those terms.l? E.U In each of these constructions of the subject.

illustrates the ways in which the relations of mothers to infants produce different types of subjects. as a result of this early formation. modelled on the object relations school of psychoanalysis. not wholly determined sense of themselves. but also the politics of race. have problematized some aspects of the Cartesian subject. and are inclined to have a fluid. has also been. experience the world more in relational terms. she suggests.P Nancy Chodorow's work. even possibly desirous of. To speak as a feminist has sometimes been to privilege gender politics over other kinds of politics. IS The issue of identity has also been important for feminist theory as it grapples not only with its relation to class politics. according to Chodorow.If They are less likely than men. ethnicity. Juliet Mitchell's attempt to "save Freud for feminism" was based on a recognition that Freud's theory of the unconscious provided a useful description of the internalization (in the unconscious) of misogyny. and so forth.l? To speak as a "woman." on behalf of women. autonomy and essential humanism. The project of "putting the subject into question" has a 48 . Women. and the consequent implications of that for feminism. Feminist and Marxist debates about the subject thus reveal the profoundly political implications of discarding Descartes' assumptions about individualism. These theories. educated. and has attempt to treat the white.most often . in various ways. North American woman as the universal subject of feminist politics. it is also plain that feminism and Marxism are not willing to abandon the subject altogether. their own oppression. is predisposed to have ethical interpretations of the world and moral responses which are different from those of men. rationality. sexual orientation. middle class. And yet.Studies in Political Economy subject has been psychoanalytic theory. in many cases to universalize what being a woman is and . in both men and women. served to exclude other identities. to feel their identity as fixed or autonomous. therefore.l? Jessica Benjamin develops Chodorow's ideas to explain how women are likely to become complicit in. as a result of the way in which they were mothered. location. Carol Gilligan makes use of Chodorow's work in order to show how the female subject.

however deceptive that may be or has been. to reason. it is poststructuralist theory which has become notorious for its depiction of the fractured subject. poststructuralist theory indicates both the inevitability of experiencing "subject-ness" and also its equally unavoidable emptiness. to be aware of his or her creation. Why is it. which is often to empower the subject through an increase in his or her ability to act.MacDonald/SubJects political purpose. Overwhelmingly. therefore. by a desire still to be a subject. the subject traversed by discourses and so forth.not merely of aspects of the subject (e. has asked in a trenchant critique of the poststructuralist theorization of the subject. as this subjectcritique may be. The criticism of the Cartesian subject is spurred. the death of the subject. As radical. its location at the individual level. the direction of poststructuralist thought has been to emphasize the "constituted" nature of the subject . In locating this process of constitution at the level of language structure and acquisition. its supposed autonomy. and therefore to increase the subject's own capacity for self-creation. that the concept of the subject and the possibility of discovering/creating a liberating 'truth' become suspect?20 Poststructuralism 1. but the determination of the analyses to destroy all faith in the notion of the subject is clearly more intense. integrity. The political impetus for these theorizations of the subject is less apparent than in Marxist and feminist accounts. just at the moment in Westernhistory when previously silenced populations have begun to speak for themselves and on behalf of their subjectivities. speaking from a socialist feminist position. but the very constitution of subjectivity per se. the general impulse of Marxism and feminism has been to retain some faith in agency. and the power of collective action. often with the recognition that the ability to act as a subject.g. This 49 . The Subject in Language While feminist and Marxist theorists debate the political problematization of the subject. in part. or rationality). is an ability which has rarely been exercised by the majority of people. the dispersal of subjectivities. truth. As Nancy Hartsock.

in the sense that it will also be the source of secondary identifications. and in taking this inevitable step in human maturation. the subject is inherently nonidentical with itself. or rather. the immaturity of the human infant leads it.Studies in Political Economy double problem of the subject can be seen in a consideration of the poststructuralist theories of Lacan. which will always remain irreducible alone. in a fictional direction. which reinforce the fiction of the subject by denying the inherent and necessary split in the linguistic representation of objects. This assumption came under scrutiny in Saussurian linguistic theory. before its social determination. His work is an attempt to combine Freudian psychoanalysis with Saussurian linguistics. locating the formation of the unconscious in linguistic structures. the result of two factors. which made distinctions among the signifier (the word) and the signified (the concept. For each of these theorists. is a fictional construct of language. to deny its dependence and incoherence by projecting an image of itself onto others (and most specifically onto the mother) whom it sees as being autonomous and complete. whatever the success of the dialectical synthesis by which he must resolve as "I" his discordance with his own reality. language is the point of departure in the formation of the subject. under which term I would place the functions of libidinal normalization.21 This "imaginary" construction of itself and others is supported by structures of language. Subjectivity. it is always assumed that the word bears some kind of direct relationship to its referent. he posits. or the object of reference). But the important point is that this form situates the agency of the ego. That is.' a "fictional" subject. and in a chronic state of denying its own fractured and non-selfidentical existence. First. which will only rejoin the coming-into-being of the subject asymptotically. Derrida and Kristeva. Lacan's reading of Freud is often credited with initiating poststructuralism's recasting of the theory of subjectivity. in using language. The 50 . during its development. According to Lacan. This projection of the imagined coherence of the other onto the self creates an "Ideal-I." This form would have to be called the Ideal-I if we wished to incorporate it into our usual register. the child enters into the realm which Lacan calls "the Imaginary.

in which it is completely identified with the other. He differs from Lacan in focussing not on the psychological processes of language acquisition but rather on the dividing and dissembling nature of language itself. but to recover a knowledge of the uncontrolled.and yet it is this very lack. and the continual reinforcement of this lack. The project of Lacanian psychoanalysis is not to establish the subject as a freer or less neurotic person. language depends upon the very thing that its appearance of referentiality denies. and the projection of an ideal completion of the signified in the signifier. The desire of the child to be whole and self-certain appears to be accomplished in language (because of language's ability to deny the split between the signifier and the signified) but not without denying and repressing its own sense of a loss of completeness. And it is the cumulative effect of continued unsatisfied and unsatisfiable desire that gives the self its continuity. 23 The order of language. The child represses the infantile Imaginary. pre-linguistic non-subject. which he calls differance. the child cannot help but experience its growing separation from her as a lacks the completion and sense of wholeness it most wants . the lack persists. Differance refers to what 51 . This continuous lack is desire.MacDonald/Subjects child's "Ideal-I. This shift to the Symbolic occurs because.24 Jacques Derrida's work has also deconstructed the subject through an analysis of language. According to Derrida. first. (the signifier can never fully express the signified. And because speech always falls short of what is needed. determine the structures of the child's unconscious. Speech is therefore.22 The subject is therefore split . the expression of demand. despite its original identification with the mother. and especially its intrinsic dissimulation (the necessary presentation of words as if they had an unproblematic and direct reference to their objects). the lacking object). that is the primary condition of all humanity. Lacan calls the entry of the child into language the entry into the Symbolic. and assumes its own subjectivity in the acquisition of language. which produces something which we recognize as a subject." or projection of an image onto itself lays the ground for its acquisition of language.

25 Derrida writes differance with an "a" (rather than difference with an "e") because its distinctiveness as a term is then one that can only be registered in writing and not in pronunciation (phonetically). The present speaker gives an authenticity to language's referentiality which. including historical absence or loss. In writing about his project of "grammatology" (the study of the history of the gramme." "non-linear. he hopes. 52 .both the need to differentiate among objects (to make distinctions). across time. that is that language has a tendency to privilege presence. Differance. language never actually refers to objects or concepts. and this meaning is in constant flux because of the changing relationships among objects over time and space. and the identification of signifieds which have the same signifier. can never capture differance. he claims. language privileges identity (the identification of the signifier with the signified. however. As well." and therefore revolutionary in their concepts of humanity. Subjects are constituted by language and in their constitution as such. is diminished in writing. contribute to and continue in language's mystification of differance. Differences among objects are what give them their meaning. as the reference of a word to an object. and the need to defer temporally. i. scientific epistemology.Studies in Political Economy language depends upon . or of differance). That is. its operations and its origins. will introduce new ways of thinking that are "pluridimensional. He makes this distinction because he wishes to make a point about language generally. with the loss of certainty as to authorship or audience. Derrida shows how his project and its understanding of language is subversive of humanism. but can only arise because of the differences among and between objects.e. members of a category) over non-identity or differences . since it is constituted as reference. and linear forms of rationality.on which indeed the appearance of identity depends. The notion of the subject acts as a foundation in this dissemblance of language concerning itself. such as the presence of the speaking subject. Language. over absence.

a realm of expression which Kristeva calls the Semiotic. To do so. and the biological experiences (especially of being mothered) in early childhood. on the one hand. music. "is not to replace the semiotics of signifying systems by considerations on the biological code appropriate to those employing them . and signifying operations (naming. she suggests. since the biological code has been modelled on the language system. she connects the divided subject (conscious/unconscious) of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis to the divided sign (signifier/signified) of Saussurian linguistics. after all. when the unconscious. In one and the same gesture they leave man." she maintains. indicate that they have the ability to disrupt the dominant signifying system. "The point. the quality of biological drives. biological drives and experiences. re-experienced by the adult woman in her 53 ."27 Nevertheless. in her analysis. Kristeva attempts to link the analysis of language and of signs to the biological drives discussed by Freud. Kristeva calls this system. providing meaning) on the other hand. after Lacan. on the contrary. The origin of the Semiotic is in the early pre-Oedipal attachment to one's mother. The determinant character of signification over experience. science. dance. such as rhythm. criticizes the subject which has been constructed in it. But disruption of the Symbolic is possible. This connection allows her to suggest that there is a possible interplay between unconscious. The meta-rationality or the meta-scientificity which are thus announced within the meditation upon writing can therefore be no more shut up within a science of man than conform to the traditional idea of science. it makes all the rationality subjected to the linear model appear as another form and another age of mythography. and in their quest for pleasure. the Symbolic. both in their multiplicity and heterogeneity. and poetry.MacDonald/Subjects The access to pluridimensionality and to delinearized temporality is not a simple regression toward the "mythogram". mutual influence.a tautological exercise. and the line behind. biological subject is expressed through other signifying practices. In her writing. precludes any kind of reciprocal. and like Lacan.26 Julia Kristeva also takes up the project of the subversion of Western thought and of the Cartesian subject.

54 . a complete absence of meaning and which is heterogeneous and creative. "28 Kristeva's deconstruction of the Symbolic subject. within a constant questioning of the symbolic and its subject. however.Studies in Political Economy own desire to become a mother. as well as being able to encompass language in its rhythmic. rhythm. in which the structures of the conscious/unconscious can be known and the ego's subjectivity understood as a product of such structures. and her advocacy of a revolution in poetic language is proffered in the hope that poetic language would put a heterogeneous self in the place of the unitary subject. and a fantasied clinging to the maternal body as a screen against the plunge. sound. Derrida's theory requires that we look at language itself as a system which effaces its origins and the conditions of its own sense. Lacan calls upon a structural explanation. The logic of difRrance. or of the supplement. and our everyday subject-ness are implicated. For example. each deconstructive perspective privileges one element of an "external" subjectivity. They are non-selfreflexive about their ability to theorize outside of the limitations on the subject which they present. flashes. a subject position outside of the recognized borders of the subject. Moreover. There are. it is feeling. Kristeva expresses as "a whirl of words. This desire. displacement. Such a discourse announces what seems required by an eventual ideological renewal: the awakening of subjects. as it were. the perspective from which the subject is deconstructed must be created from a position outside that subjectivity. similarities to be found among all of these accounts. within a perpetual struggle with no possible philosophical relaxation. as he calls it. It [poetic language] implicates a knowing subject within an analytic relationship to language. calls us to partake in a rationality in which our everyday reason.29 The poststructuralist account of the subject's constitution in language thus takes a variety of forms. And Kristeva's 'deconstruction of the subject ultimately posits the priority of another subject . For example. for each of these theorists. poetic state.

that attempts to reflect reality in reason are destined to failure. is true. is that their analysis of the subject is non-historical and culturally non-specified. Lacan presents the subject as fiction. and therefore he leaves his work open to the same type of critique he makes against Cartesian rationality. This is a logic. An additional disturbing feature of these critiques. Lacanian psychoanalysis provides a critique of the subject which. something which their critiques of the subject do not reflect. if Derrida's assertion of a primary condition of language. from a superior rationality. For example. meanings that can then be expressed through non-symbolic forms such as music and dance. He offers an interpretation of reality which he suggests is an accurate account of reality. Despite this. which language denies. then surely this is also something which could be discovered and demonstrated within the very form of logic and rationality which he denounces (i. moreover.MacDonald/Subjects The ability of these theorists to speak from outside subjectivity. it is hoped. her valorization of the Semiotic depends on treating as essential certain meanings in the pre-Oedipal experience.and yet persuades us of the critical necessity of this revelation through traditional logic. therefore. or from alternative experiences. which speaks of the universality of the human condition and its truths. Indeed. even where it can be differently disguised in different languages. ironically. that of language). is interesting on several counts.e. Kristeva's critique of the subject and symbolic meaning asserts that all meaning belongs to the level of signification and the Symbolic. it becomes as universalized. Similarly. 55 . and rationally discoverable as the Cartesian subject itself. and so can themselves be subjected to a form of immanent critique. The type of subject which language creates is inseparable from the fact of language itself. present at birth. One problem with these critiques of the subject is. non-relational. the truth of language as a dissemblance of desire . that they may not be able to withstand their own criticisms of "traditional" theory. The problem which they are discussing then becomes an endemic feature of the human condition. will cause us to question our faith in an original autonomous subject.

it homogenizes the phenomenon. this is unlikely to become a generalizable experience. North American.Studies in Political Economy The universalization of the Cartesian subject. knows that once the heterogeneous biological impulses she postulates are spoken of. The subjectivity of. no other distinctions can be made. too. the relationship to others is given in its significance already. they are lost for their radical moment. There is. They are also limited because their very nature is reactive. male who is head of a corporation is not under56 . for example. "30 The dominance of significations can be challenged. Finally. he cannot create them. but it can never be replaced. and a transformation of them which reveals the "truths" of differance. of Cartesian rationality. therefore. loses hold of it. links it with a system. Kristeva. As each text or symbol is scrutinized for its participation in the larger system (and there are unique contributions made on these counts) no evaluation of the particular relationships among texts is attempted. or of language. These subversions of the subject are not only limited because of a lack of access. While Lacanian or Kristevan psychoanalytic treatment might be capable of producing a "heterogeneous self' who recognizes an inner capacity to experience outside the symbolic. is also already established and inaccessible to intervention or critique. what this suggests is that within the broader critique of the subject. and its generalization across time has implications as well for the subversive character of the poststructuralist theories which denounce it. that differance which language requires but never reveals. the relationships of difference among things. Even less likely is the prospect that we shall all embark upon Derridean textual deconstructions in order to reveal the production of meanings within texts and the necessity of undermining their arbitrary boundaries. For Lacan. outside of logic. Derrida can only deconstruct texts. For Derrida. Differance is always only a play on existing texts. "As soon as it [the semiotic] speaks about it [these biological operations]. Their critiques are both privileged and of dubious effectiveness. a white. no escape from existing texts or existing psychic structures.

For one thing. Poststructuralism 2: The Subject in Discourse Michel Foucault's work stands slightly apart from that of the other poststructuralists.31 and a history of medical treatment in The Birth of the Clinic. and he discusses their production in historical terms. in order to organize for their own class. about scientific progress within them. Each of these "epistemes. With this aim. and who may assert their subjectivity. about their truth-value. Foucault wanted simply to present discourses as surface phenomena." as opposed to the emphasis of the other poststructuralist theorists on language itself. In the final section of the paper. race. and obeyed its own rules in the production of discourses and therefore. in the discursive production of subjects. I will be returning to these critiques. The Renaissance Age was characterized by a logic of resemblance. contained its own internal logic." as he referred to them. studies in which he describes his methodology as a form of "archeology. and health. madness. and the Modern Age. their agency and rationality. the Classical Age. it is useful to consider the work of Michel Foucault. His ability to do this is a result of his use of the concept "discourse. he catalogued a history of insanity in Madness and Civilization. he was prepared to argue that the discourses which he was surveying could be grouped into three historical epochs: the Renaissance. his work does theorize about the production of different kinds of subjects.MacDonald/SubJects stood differently from the subjectivities of the immigrant women of colour who are his employees. He proposed discursive analysis as a way of studying how different statements and practices produce different subjectivities. also a poststructuralist theorist who has made unique contributions to the question of the subject. the Classical Age 57 - ~- ----------------------- . or about their hidden meanings. and gender interests against their employer." His intent was to suspend the kinds of questions which had been asked about previous discourses. Before doing so. Foucault developed his notion of "discourse" first in his earlier studies of psychology.32 By the time he wrote The Order of Things. Instead.

" or the subject. to privilege the organization of knowledge. they are also unable to pass through it.. the double articulation of the history of individuals upon the unconscious of culture. without doubt. for they always address themselves to that which constitutes his outer limits.." or in the Order of Things. This was the case whether he was motivated in Madness and Civilization to consider the systematic exclusion of the "Other. which Foucault dated from the French Revolution. [They show that] the signifying chain by which the unique experience of the individual is constituted is perpendicular to the formal system on the basis of which the significations of a culture are constituted.. in this book and in the Archeology of Knowledge. however.." That is. his choice of statements. and the Modern age by the logic surrounding "man.the possible permutations and combinations of the antinomies faced by the Modern Age. [Ethnology and psychoanalysis never] come near to a general concept of man: at no moment do they come near to isolating a quality in him that is specific. to delineate the rules of playing out these dilemmas of subjectivity .Studies in Political Economy by a logic of representation. is one already characterized by the antinomies highlighted in poststructuralist (and.. was eventually abandoned. he found a method which CQuldjustify a ~~history of the present. Foucault 58 . the possibility of a discourse that could move from one to the other without discontinuity.33 The intention of The Order of Things was. the most general problems that can be posed with regard to man . and of the historicity of those cultures upon the unconscious of individuals.. irreducible and uniformly valid wherever he is given experience. Foucault then turned to the aspect of his work he called "genealogical. He became aware that his perceptions in examining historical discourses. [S]ince Totem and Taboo.. This last age. as I argued in the early section of this paper. Not only are they able to do without the concept of man. Foucault's attempt to systematize discourses. He left the search for discursive regularities when he realized that he could no longer maintain the stance of objectivity required in "archeological" work. or of fields for examination. has opened up.. the establishment of a common field for these two. Marxist and feminist) thought.."34 In genealogy. always revealed a "motivated" character.

In Discipline and Punish. even constant. by contrast. The effect of this shift on Foucault's work was to bring a new emphasis to considerations of power. The punishment of the Classical Age.MacDonald/Subjects used genealogy to observe the detailed occurrences and practices of the past with a view to their productive moment. Self-surveillance. is Foucault's major contribution to the theory of the subject. according to Foucault. without ascribing intentionality to those practices. This production of subjects. This form of discipline involved the instatement of the state's rationality throughout society. in the contemporary discourses around sex. thus facilitating the connection between knowledge and power. This subject then becomes ever more available to be used and controlled.Js The subject produces him or herself as a normalized subject whose actions and desires are increasingly knowable and predictable. and the injunction to pursue it (in order to know the truth of oneself) produce a subject constantly engaged in the process of self-regulation and normalization. It is also a significant 59 .35 While this was effective. fantasies of the individual has been brought to new heights. he described how punishment by torture. unable to know at what moment the guard is on observation. The imprisonment of the modern criminal. VoU. desires. He began to theorize the close interrelationship of knowledge with power in the succession of discourses which he had analyzed. involved a public display of the power of the sovereign. self-scrutiny. paying dues for the crime committed in the form of public works which were appropriate to the criminal act. learns to practice a constant self-surveillance. especially in the Panopticon designed by Jeremy Bentham. Foucault revealed how sexual self-knowledge. In The History of Sexuality. through discourses which enjoin the subject to participate in his or her own subjection. is an even more efficient and more pervasive practice of power. proper to the Renaissance. reassertion. The prisoner. the encroachment of power into ever more minute areas of the psyche and the body. to witness their effects in the present. had the prisoner on display. it also required frequent. the incessant production of knowledge about the internal thoughts.

and regularized production of its activities. Foucault cannot explain where such resistance would emerge. Foucault's work on the subject also contains a number of practical difficulties. since he is not able to assume that any form of the subject is anything other than a discursive creation. Unlike the linguistic poststructuralists whose work calls upon a truth that precedes language (either in the formation of individual subjects or in the formation of language itself). a logic of increasingly efficient organization. Foucault cannot search outside the truths about the production of the subject which he has revealed for other. There are a number of possibilities one can reflect upon in this regard. Another possibility. or how its discourses would themselves be produced.Studies in Political Economy feature of Foucault's intellectual enterprise that he was critical of the mechanisms and techniques of power. is produced by discourses (including discursive practices). He cannot call the process of normalization a distortion. or more essentially human subjects. This option would necessitate theorizing an essential nature to human embodiedness. of necessity. as Foucault describes him or her. Moreover. Yet this criticism. These discourses would appear to respond to the mechanisms of power . better. conform to the very functioning of power which they were intending to resist. One is that oppositional discourses would emerge from some type of physical resistance to the technologies enacted upon the body. thereby extending the normalizing and regulatory function of power rather than escaping or destroying it. apparent 60 . despite his interest in the body. and that he advocated resistance. Within such a system it is difficult to imagine how oppositional discourses could gain any strength.37 One of these is the absence of any foundation for an ethical resistance to the normalized subject. and the desire to find or produce another form of subjectivity indicate several difficulties in Foucault's work.power which is constantly obeying its own internal logic. more complete. never does. they would not also. Further to this. In addition to leaving his ethical criticisms of the modern subject without a theoretical foundation. it would be hard to argue that once they did. something which Foucault. The subject.

First.MacDonald/Su bj ects in his description of "fields of power relations" is that there would exist sites not yet traversed by the operations of power.and world-constituting. his theory of power/knowledge suggests an inevitable movement in history which the subject cannot alter or affect.a previous and outmoded one. which makes Foucault's theory more appealing than. completely arbitrary one? It is not clear whether either of these options are possible. or of a subjectivity which is consciously self. then how are they. The Constituted/Constitutive Subject This examination of the theory of the subject in poststructuralism should lend a note of caution to any Marxist or feminist sense of affinity with poststructuralism. any set of meanings or practices. A related concern with Foucault's interpretation of the subject in history. So. the movement of reason. This is a movement of increasing rationalization. and secondly. he cannot logically locate sites of resistance. and similar restrictions on the effectiveness of theoretical understanding. The logics of poststructuralism so prohibit the possibility of differently constituted subjectivities. that the work tends to produce a complete pessimism concerning the possibility for social change. although he originally denied rational progress. and according to what logic . but rather the reverse. those of the other poststructuralists. however. increasinglyrobs the subject of freedom. Yet. which would therefore still be resistant to its imposition. which differs from the Enlightenment view of progressive reason in two respects. leaving aside this charge of nihilism which is frequ~ntly (and not unfairly) dlIected against the poststruc61 . the subject has no control over reason's progress. or spontaneous. Once again. despite the historical and differential production of subjects. is his final depiction of the progress of power in history. this is problematic. he ends up with similar limits on what can be theorized. And because Foucault's discourse theory does not suggest that it is subjects or practices which produce discourses. then wherein lies the ability to resist? If they are organized. It appears that. If these sites are not organized into any discourse. and different from. rather than providing greater autonomy.

the terms "nonhuman subject" and "supra-human subject" border on the oxymoronic. Admittedly. the desire to retrieve "nonsubjected" experience as an alternative subject model. 1) Theorization of a type of "non-human subject" or "suprahuman" subject can be witnessed in the work of structuralist Marxists. and the concern with the subject's ability to be constitutive of a changed reality. there are ways in which a consideration of poststructuralist ideas can clarify the Marxist and feminist debates about the subject.Studies in Political Economy turalists. or within feminism. some combination of which may be necessary in order to move beyond the present impasse and questions about the subject. in the work of Foucault which locates agency in an amorphous field of power. like Althusser or Godelier who locate agency in the structures of economy and society. These can be roughly categorized into three approaches: the attempt to reintroduce agency.e. Further. it is apparent that the poststructuralist formulation of what the subject is able to accomplish has a more restricted and limiting view than either the Marxist or feminist retheorizations. and the similar tendencies within poststructuralist theory. And yet what these theorists suggest is a transfer of the kind of power and determination which Enlightenment thought accorded to the subject onto another level of dc\crmi\\ilc~. the structure/agency debate. within Marxism. those aspects of \he Cartesian subject 62 . the conflict over models for social change. but to accord it a "nonhuman" or "supra-human" status. Within each of these theoretical approaches as well. These different possibilities for rethinking the subject also delineate some of the major debates within the different theoretical paradigms: i. Each offers a particular perspective on re-theorizing the subject. There are interesting parallels between Marxist and feminist attempts to retheorize the subject in efforts to avoid the problems of the Cartesian subject. and in Derrida's proposals which give "texts" a life and determinacy of their own. and the rational overcoming of the Cartesian subject through new forms of logic or an anti-Enlightenment rationality. Each of these approaches differently emphasizes the question of the subject's constitution.

in poststructuralist work the attention to "macro-subjects" at least forces us to face the need for close inquiry into those forces which have shaped the human subject. the location of agency in "power" itself. Indeed. one which is determinate of human illusions. such as self-consciousness. While this focus has led to charges of economism in Marxism. are also shorn from humans in this theorization. our reasoning and our actions. Lacan. makes us. For Foucault. Derrida's work suggests that language and texts have an independent existence prior to human engagement with them. expressly the illusion of human agency. and Foucault. it lies in its emphasis on exploring what is constitutive of human subjects. produce negative results . in reading Derrida. it is hard to avoid seeing ascriptions of intentionality in their theorizations of the text.a loss of individuality. and a concomitant increase in the regularization and normalization of human subjects. indeed. For structural Marxists. A significant contribution of poststructuralist theory in this regard has been to indicate the degree to which the language we use and the meanings which are prevalent in our lives. the movement of history is both positive and determined outside of historically constituted subjectivities. language.e." These solutions to the problem of the subject have the effect of splitting what is constitutive (the macro-subject) from what is constituted (the micro-subject or various subject-positions). of power or language . However much control and power we wish to locate in the subject. which is not of our own making. and in the constitutive discourses which are shaped by power's demands. and which have historical influence outside of human subjective control. intentionality and responsibility. If there is an advantage in this approach to the analysis of subjectivity. can determine our perceptions. and of essentialism i. 63 .MacDonald/Subjects which are not attributed to the non-human subject. and which. there is always the aspect of history. this split then requires theorizing a macro-subject which has internal tendencies toward revolutionary change. to a degree. or a monolithic "power.

Thompson's recourse to the "experience" of being workers occupies a similarly privileged place in his theory. For poststructuralists such as Kristeva and Lacan. and certain options for subjectivity. and non-rational. Gilligan). The forms of subjectivity which they hope to instate are ones which are more ethical." The embodiedness of human beings. Daly)." This faith in repressed or oppressed experience has a parallel in some feminist literature which finds women's experience to be different from men's. or Cartesian rationality. pre64 .e. however. the experiences of an oppressed class can also provide an alternative view of reality. can somehow be escaped. more accurate reflections of the human condition. For the Marxists and feminists. through psychoanalysis.38 In both the poststructuralist attention to experience. Similar features can be found in the Lacanian portrayal of the subject. and/or more responsive to the differential constitutions of subjectivities. the promise of an alternative is more transient. For Marxist theorists like Gramsci. and Raymond Williams. this escape would be in the form of a historical overcoming. there is a hope that the Cartesian subject. provide grounds for "other" perceptions of the world. their experience of being mothered and coming late into language. Irigaray. or because of the experience of being embodied as female (O'Brien. a movement beyond present patriarchal or capitalist structures which entrench certain views of the world.Studies in Political Economy 2) The desire to retrieve experience which has not been framed by Cartesian rationality can be witnessed in Kristeva's faith in the realm of the "semiotic.P. which has little recourse to the Imaginary. Chodorow. and no recourse to what is actually "real. a sense of "pre-subjectivity." but which seeks to retrieve. and in Marxist and feminist corollaries. Gramsci's organic intellectuals have a special understanding of the oppression of the working class. as he attempts to theorize the origins of resistant practices in residual and emergent cultures. B. Thompson. either because of early relations to the mother (i. and for a subjectivity which is fluid and changing. Raymond Williams' work is particularly suggestive in this regard because of its consideration of oppositional subjectivities.

this new rationality corresponds to an internalization of a new ethical relation between subject and object. This model's recourse to another subjectivity desires the restoration of a "constituting" aspect for subjects. which. who attempt to overcome the dilemma of constituted subjectivity through the exercise of a new form of reason. or feminist critiques of instrumental reason. or psychologically determined) between humans. the poststructuralist theorization offers a more limited and pessimistic solution. or Adorno's negative dialectics. In Derrida's work. the emphasis of all these theorists is on the creation of subjects through the relationships (however biologically. In fact. economically. but can never become a substitute for the dominance of language. would simply displace some of the assumptions about the subject.MacDonald/Subjects linguistic experience can be retrieved. Overwhelmingly. Within critical theory's critique of instrumental reason. without in fact ever being fully able to displace that subject. 3) A final parallel can be located between some poststructuralist theorists and certain Marxist and feminist theorists. The development of an alternative rationality. or at least the subject's self-understanding. and to accomplish that transcendence through reason. what is useful about the dis65 . however. such as Derrida's logic of differance. Once again. The re-theorization of the subject in these three dimensions need not be reduced to a debate between the different schools in question. are all representative of a hope to transcend the subject/object relationship as it presently exists. and the latent potential for recognition of undisclosed or unacknowledged relations which could transform the subject. the deconstructive impulse of his logic is limited to the level of critique of existing texts. which nevertheless is discoverable through reason in its present form. and the ability of the subject through reason to surmount his or her limitations and to constitute new forms of subjectivity. for Marxists and feminists would become sufficiently powerful to overcome the previously constituted subjectivities. A tension is maintained between the subject constituted by the existing form of reason. and for poststructuralists.

66 . and that the process of internalising these reflections can also be part of the subjects' self-transformation. must include a recognition that the subjects have an ability to observe themselves and reflect upon their own relationship to the world.Studies in Political Economy tinctions that these categories permit us to make. they would be able to draw upon a sensitivity to difference. observing the ways in which that constitution can either correspond to. first. and discourse which is developing in Third World. is the observation that an adequately theorized subject can only be the result of attention to the problems which surface at each of these levels. or be subverted by. These questions would evidently demand historical and contextual considerations of rationality. Critical questions to be asked include the following: in what ways do the variety of social relationships frustrate or comply with existing structures of domination? to what degree are alternative logics and perspectives available for reflecting on those relationships? how is the dominant rationality reflected in institutional practices? and so forth. antiracist and feminist theories. this focus on the conditioning of subjects and their production. a large measure of attention would need to be given to the interaction of the different dimensions. and meaning) upon it. Additionally. It is to be hoped that ways can be found to understand the trouble with subjects through these dimensions. And ideally. marginality. observing the effects of macro-subjects (such as structural determinants. That is. and secondly. They would also need to be informed by the kind of emancipatory values which discourse poststructuralism has also largely avoided. Finally. the subject cannot be understood without. relationality and institutions which linguistic poststructuralism has not developed. the types of relationships within which the subject is engaged or has been engaged as a subject. prevailing discourses of rationality. and through their interrelation. The success of such a re-theorization of the subject would require that these approaches be combined in a multi-dimensional analysis in which none would be accorded a fully determinant status.

Capital. in terms of its critique of Enlightenment thinking.\9-45. Thinking Fragments: Psychoanalysis.. That is. Department of Political Science. 1982).. Chapman and Hall. K. In Other Worldi': Essays in Cultural Politics (Methuen.. Colin Leys. Roberta Hamilton. pp. See for example. I have explored the implications of "postmodern feminism" and "postmodern Marxism" through looking at issues of consistency. (ed. It is not unusual to find claims for poststructuralism's originality in this regard. Jane Flax. 1989)." (See. Foucault. 1974). Margaret Little. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge. 1983). Catherine Kellogg. for example. Gender and Knowledge: Elements of a Postmodern Feminism (polity Press. In this way. Poststructuralism and the Question of History (Cambridge University Press. Marxism and Deconstruction: A Critical Articulation (Johns Hopkins University Press.).. but nevertheless a significant number of Marxist theorists have also attempted a synthesis of the Marxist approach with post structuralism. Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory (Basil Blackwell. A subtheme of this paper. and Chris Weedon. Judith Butler. Marx. Nicholson. knowledge and agency in my dissertation "The Political Limitations of Postmodern Theory. 1990). trans. 1987).. 1987).). For the purposes of the comparisons I make. 1990). diss. 67 . 1984). however. Nature and Difference (Routledge. Diana Fuss. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Rianne Mahon. Feminism and Postmodernism in the Contemporary West (University of California Press. and Sandy Whitworth. 3. As suggested above. such as feminist theory. and Barry Smart. Thinking Fragments . 1990).. and concerns with power." Ph. Fewer. Hekman. and to distinguish the political implications of these different approaches. 1987). ill (London: Lawrence & Wishart. 1. Linda J. is to consider the poststructuralist critique of the subject as one among several approaches to Enlightenment critique. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Jane Jenson. Geoff Bennington and Robert Young (eds. poststructuralist theory is often described. Essentially Speaking: Feminism.D. York University. Flax. I have chosen to limit my analysis to a few of the preeminent poststructuralist thinkers. 2. Michael Ryan. Feminism/Postmodernism (Routledge. Vol. it is often then conjoined with a more expressly political critique. Christine Sypnowich. to create a "postmodern feminism. '. See for example Derek Attridge. I would like to thank Karen Dubinsky. 1990). a large number of feminist thinkers have initiated work that attempts to combine poststructuralist (or postmodern) and feminist analysis. 1991. Marxism and Critique (Routlege and Kegan Paul. Susan Hekman. and not infrequently as if it held an exclusive claim to this critique. by its adherents and popularizers. self-reflexivity..MacDonald/Subjects Notes For their extremely valuable assistance in commenting upon and editing several drafts of this paper. by Winston Moore and Paul Cammack (London: Verso. Gender and Knowledge .

Adam Przeworski. pp. 128-142. Reidel Publishing Company. Reiter (ed. Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (Harper and Row. 10. 1985). pp.B. I recommend Jorge Larrain. Feminist Theory and the Philosophies of Man (Routledge. Wittig. State and Revolution (International Publishers. 1947). 1984). Susan Griffin. gender characteristics. see Judith Butler's essay. Some examples of each are discussed below. Marxism and Ideology (Macmillan Press. Theodor Adorno. 5. Lenin. and gender roles. Max Horkheimer. ed.P. Herbert Marcuse. however. 1971). trans. and one which presents gender as a conscious choice. E. Adorno. while this argument is most often associated with radical feminism. 455-65. Eros and Civilization (Vintage Books. 103-5. among such concepts as gender identity. 1988). It should be noted that. pp. 7. 1976). John B. Further clarification will need to be made. Hoare and G. 1978). 1970). Louis Althusser and Etienne Balibar. trans. by John Cumming (Continuum Publishing. Foucault. Q. 6. For further examples of the radical feminist position. and Karl Kosik. 1975). 11. Selections from the Prison Notebooks.radical feminism and pyschoanalytic feminism. Nowell Smith (Lawrence and Wishart. by E. pp.). 9. 68 . Andrea Nye. 1983).3-43. Psychoanalysis and Feminism (New York: Vintage Books. Dialectics of the Concrete (D. pp. 1982). Studies in the Theory of Ideology (University of California Press. V. Ashton (Continuum Publishing. see Mary Daly Gynlecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (Beacon Press. Thompson. The different positions taken on gender and gender acquisition in the breadth of feminist writing suggest this field as an important focus for future work on the subject and identity. idem. The Concept of Ideology (Hutchinson and Co. 1979). 1978). Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for a Feminist Revolution (William Morrow. 13. Toward an Anthropology of Women (New York: Monthly Review Press. Eclipse of Reason (Oxford University Press. 8. 12. and Shulamith Firestone. 1978). and trans.I. Dialectic of Enlightenment. 1914).)." in Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell (eds. For an alternative view of gender. The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (Monthly Review Press. Thompson. "The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex" in Rayna R. Louis Althusser. Several valuable studies have been written concerning the Marxist concept of ideology. Reading Capital (New Left Books. 1962). for example. Gayle Rubin. "Variations on Sex and Gender: Beauvoir. 157-210.. 1987). 14. similar claims are made by many who focus on the social construction of gender in all models of feminist theory. Antonio Gramsci. for example. Capitalism and Social Democracy (Cambridge University Press. 1970). "Note on the ISA's" Economy and Society 12/4 (November 1982). See. Feminism as Critique (University of Minnesota Press. Juliet Mitchell. 15. Negative Dialectics. This argument is made especially within two groups of feminist theory . 1966). 1971).Studies in Political Economy 4. See.

Hull. (forthcoming). 1980). 36Nol. Returning to Freud: Clinical Psychoanalysis in the School of Jacques Lacan (New Haven: Yale University Press. Norton and Co. 17. Jacques Lacan. All the Women Are White." Substance. 11/no." and Mary Childers and Bell Hooks. can be found in Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose. and Barbara Smith. Elizabeth Abel. 21. 20. The Bonds of Love: Feminism. neither 69 . Class and Pyschoanalysis? Opening Questions.. Audre Lorde. "Jacques Lacan: Feminism and the Problem of Gender-Identity. what is generally represented as the calm. Nancy Chodorow. Psychoanalysis and Domination (New York: Pantheon Books. Sister/Outsider (New York: Crossing Press. some of which has recently begun to engage with postmodern theory. See for example. Catherine Porter (Cornell University. to other concepts.W.. quoted in Christine di Stefano. Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the ecole freudienne (New York: W. Carleton University. 1990).2.). All the Blacks Are Men. Norton and Co. therefore. "Essentially and lawfully.).. For examples of Lacanian clinical psychoanalytic work. "Dilemmas of Difference" in Nicholson (ed. But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies (New York: Feminist Press. 1984. 23. In a Different Voice (Harvard University Press. 25. 1978). Ecrits: A Selection (New York: W. The resemblance to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit here is striking.MacDonald/Subjects 16. 75. of a conceptual process and system in general. Yearning: race. "Luce Irigaray's 'Contradictions': Poststructuralism and Feminism. Patricia Bell Scott. trans. I have left out of this discussion the complex and important role of the "phallus" as the signifier of desire in Lacan's construction of the subject. Conflicts in Feminism (New York: Routledge. Chapman and Hall. Carol Gilligan. Lacan. 1977). 174-5. "Rethinking Modernism: Minority vs. . There are other writers who treat this aspect of Lacan's psychoanalytic theory more critically.. 22.3. and Ellie Ragland-Sullivan. Jessica Benjamin. 18. Luce lrigaray. which is not a concept. For the same reason. but rather the possibility of conceptuality. see Stuart Schneiderman. that is. Maggie Berg. 1983). A body of feminist work has been written which addresses this problem." Honours Paper. 1990). "A Conversation about Race and Class" both in Marianne Hirsch and Evelyn Fox Keller (eds. differance. Majority Theories." Signs. 1984). 19. is thus no longer simply a concept. The difference of which Saussure speaks is itself. Gloria T. 1988). "The Subject(ed) Woman in Lacanian Theories. 24. FeminismiPostmodernism p. Ecrits pp." Cultural Critique 7. Nancy Hartsock. every concept is inscribed in a chain or in a system within which it refers to the other. is not simply a word. vresen\\ &n<lllel{-te{etenua\ \11\i\'Y Q{ COl\ce"p\ and "phonic material . A sympathetic treatment of Lacan in this respect. by means of the systematic play of differences. gender and cultural politics (Boston: South End Press. This Sex Which Is Not One. p. "Race. The Reproduction of Mothering (University of California Press. Such a play. 1985).1982). differance. and Eleanor MacDonald. 1982). This construction is nevertheless highly significant for feminist concerns about the role of gender in the acquisition of identity.W. See Bell Hooks.

37. 31. 1972). In a language. p. pp. 87. 1980). The ethics which he adopts reflect a desire for autonomous and free individuals who act in self-reflective ways to assure a society in which mutual interests are met. Michel Foucault.. History of Sexuality. non-simply.)\\\\:0 Q{ hil \:ol. of differance . structured and differentiating origin of differences." Jacques Derrida. 120-121. Michel Foucault.238-9. Michel Foucault. Vol. 1970). p. After publishing the History of Sexuality. then. pp. 29.. in The Care of the Self and The Use of Pleasure marks a new approach to the subject in his theory. Because of this. Jacques Derrida. p. Bouchard (New York: Cornell Press.. Desire in Language (New York: Columbia.. will be the playing movement that 'produces' . The Kristeva Reader (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. The same can be said. This shift in Foucault's work is evident first in his essay "Nietzsche.tlietllt\l\lOsl. 1973). ed. and what appeared six years after Volume I.. Of Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.. 70 . p. he tGVGm:. Michel Foucault. New York. 379-80. 36. xvii). Birth of the Clinic (London: Pantheon. a concept nor a word among others. 35. 30. there are only differences . a fortiori. Julia Kristeva.. This last stage of Foucault's thought bears some interesting resemblances to Habermas. New York. 1976). Madness and Civilization (New York: Random House. Julia Kristeva.I 1\. Genealogy. What is written as differance. II. In these books. 33.•. 28. Donald F. History" in a collection of his essays. and because. The Kristeva Reader. 1977). 30. 1978). "Differance. Practice. it is difficult to include lhe problems of this stage with a critique of his earlier and middle works. through advocating an ethical basis for thought and action.these differences. VoU (Random House. 27.30. but only the fact of its historical appearance? The facts of discourse would then have to be treated not as autonomous nuclei of multiple means of something that is not simply an activity . p. and structures of domination undermined. The Order of Things (New York: Random House. Foucault did not complete the subsequent volumes of this history as he had initially intended. to a large degree. Michel Foucault." Margins of Philosophy (University of Chicago Press. His plans for the study changed dramatically. these effects of difference •. Discipline and Punish (Random House. CounterMemory. tsu." (p. Foucault's approach is most clearly proposed in the introduction where he asks: "Is it not possible to make a structural analysis of discourses that would evade the fate of commentary by supposing no remainder. but as events and functional segments gradually coming together to form a system. as well as in published interviews during the 1980's. in the system of language. 34. 32. 1981). Language.Studies in Political Economy 26. 1977). 1986). Foucault addresses many of the limitations of his earlier works. nothing in excess of what has been differance is the non-full. 1.

" Raymond Williams. "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory. 71 . 82 (Nov-Dec 1973). See MacDonald "The Political Limitations of Postmodem Theory. 3-16.MacDonald/Su bj ects 38. I have left this aspect of his thought out of this study. pp." New Left Review. Readers interested in my criticisms are referred to my dissertation.