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Rather, Foucault begins with the fact that, at any given period in a given domain, there are

substantial constraints on
how people are able to think.
But what the archaeologist of thought is interested in is a further set of constraints that, for
example, make it ‘unthinkable’ for centuries that heavenly bodies could move other
than in circles or be made of earthly material
But Foucault’s idea is that every mode of thinking involves implicit rules "maybe not even
formulable by those following them# that materially restrict the range of thought. $f we can
uncover these rules, we will be able to see how an apparently arbitrary constraint actually
makes total sense in the framework defined by those rules.
%o the ‘history of ideas’ & where this means what is consciously going on in the minds
of scientists, philosophers,
et al. & is less important than the underlying structures that form the context for their
It is not that he denies the reality or even the supreme ethical importance of the individual
consciousness. But he thinks that individuals operate in a conceptual environment that
determines and limits them in ways of which they cannot be aware.
Foucault’s archaeology aims at history without the individual sub'ect. (ontrary to what is
often suggested, this does not mean the total exclusion of the sub'ect from history) Foucault
is, after all, talking about our history. But archaeology emphasi*es that the stage on which we
enact our history & as well as much of the script & is established independently of our
thoughts and actions. +his separates it from conventional history, which tells of individual
sub'ects moving through time.
,nd his general structure of sub'ectification & derived from an archaeological analysis of
ancient texts & is certainly open to power relations. +his structure involves, as its basis, the
acts that concern sexual behaviour "what the -reeks called ta aphrodisia & the ‘things of
,phrodite’ and what Foucault labels the ‘ethical substance’#. $t further involves the sense in
which individuals are made sub'ect to the ethical code. +his, which Foucault calls the ‘mode
of sub'ection’, might be a matter of anything from conforming to social conventions to
carrying out a programme of self.fulfilment. Beyond the /uestion of what it means to be
sub'ected to the moral code is the /uestion of the specific means by which the sub'ection is
carried out, the ‘forms of elaboration’, which might, for example, include self.conscious
following of practical rules or, on the contrary, a sudden, overwhelming conversion. Finally,
there is the ultimate goal "telos# envisaged for the pro'ect of morality) for example, the
attainment of self.mastery or purification for an afterlife.
0ais il n1en est rien2 les disciplines d3crites par Foucault sont l1histoire de ce /ue nous
cessons d14tre peu 5 peu, et notre actualit3 se dessine dans des dispositifs de contr6le
ouvert et continu, tr7s diff3rents des r3centes disciplines closes. Foucault s1accorde
avec Burroughs, /ui annonce notre avenir contr6l3 plut6t /ue disciplin3. 8a /uestion
n1est pas de savoir si c1est pire. (ar aussi nous faisons appel 5 des productions de
sub'ectivit3 capables de r3sister 5 cette nouvelle domination, tr7s diff3rentes de celles
/ui s1exer9aient nagu7re contre les disciplines. :n nouvelle lumi7re, de nouvelles
3nonciations, une nouvelle puissance, de nouvelles formes de sub'ectivation