Talk:The Archaeology of Knowledge

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Two notes: 1.) Foucault specificly does not claim his method is the only one possible: he states in Archaeology, that it is one method among many others, and then says that he prefers it over others. 2.) In Archaeology Foucault specifically denies that discouse operate in the consciousness of individuals. They are rules according to which people behave and can talk (or: perform linguistic performances), but the locus of these rules is not in the mind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.136.121.42 (talk) 12:34, 20 April 2014 (UTC)


Maybe I just missed this, but what specific page number does Foucault describe archaeology as only one possible tactic? (As in "It is important to note that Foucault reiterates that the analysis he is outlining is only one possible tactic, and that he is not seeking to displace other ways of analysing discourse or render them as invalid.") Garnet Hertz 03:23, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


I found this article of quite some use in trying to digest the book which is its subject. Thankyou to the contributor/s.58.170.183.122 13:42, 4 June 2007 (UTC)


Why "archaeology"? Does Foucault use a shovel, pick-axe, and/or dusting brush? Not trying to be facetious here. This is a legit question. A person with little knowledge of Foucault - like myself - reads this and wonders what the heck its is supposed to mean. Does Foucault really talk about Stonehenge or the tomb of Tutankhamen? How does Foucault use the word in the context of his work/theories? Why has he chosen it? Why didn't he say "a biology of knowledge" or "a theology of knowledge"? Obviosuly he has chosen "archaeology" for a reason. What is it? I think this should be one of the first things addressed in this article. Please don't respond by saying 'Sounds good, start writing'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.238.251.47 (talk) 00:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

It's an analogy. I don't think this article is very good because it's focusing on the trees rather than the forest. Big picture time. It's about the method - genealogy. F borrows it from Nietzsche, polishes it up, and used it in a few of his works (most successfully in History of Sexuality I, though still largely a failure according to AoK). Here, in AoK he more or less lays down the guidelines for doing that.
Basically at the risk of oversimplifying here's what it is, at least as it relates to literature and history - it means using a found historical item or text and examining it in terms of understanding the culture and systems of ideas it came from and how power and other social aspects intersect with it, rather than trying to understand it in itself. You know, like an archaeologist. This has pretty big implications for history, anthropology, and literature. Google New Historicism or read HoS I's intro. That'll explain what this book is about in a nutshell. This is more or less the foundational text in that movement.
Also, read Foucault, not Foucault scholars. Foucault scholars seem to have made a habit out of making the man's writing seem more obscure than it is. Foucault is a fairly good writer. Just watch out for the historical scholarship in his genealogies, it's generally poor.
If you have to read a Foucault scholar, though, Rabinow's Portrait of Fieldwork in Morocco is a pretty good introduction to many of these ideas (if you're not overly concerned with the fact R's concept of history is different than F's). Also, it's a very entertaining and well-written book. The Very Short Introduction is OK, too but kind of all over the place and overly pscyho-biographical.
Also, avoid Deleuze (who's cited here as an F scholar) like the plague. The man's an academic fraud with no grasp of logic. Of course, since he's popular with the lit crit crowd, the PC thing is to say he's "difficult" or "obscure". Frege is difficult. Lacan is obscure. Deleuze is not either, he's just illogical and prone to saying very obvious things in very roundabout ways. Guinness4life (talk) 00:29, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The term Archaeology comes from the use the Greek Arche which means both foundation, origin and master; Foucault uses it in terms of the archive a type of organistion system. In contrast to Guinness4life comments on Deleuze; Deleuze reads Foucault very well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.57.154.114 (talk) 02:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


Deleuze is not fraud or illogical. He's just a revisionist who has a different viewpoint to many common things. In fact you must read 'A Thousand Plateaus' if you haven't. I may not agreee with his interpretation of Foucault but it's genuinely interesting. 59.182.189.81 (talk) 02:35, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


I always felt Lyotard was good on Foucault. 203.217.150.68 (talk) 01:55, 22 February 2010 (UTC)


Deleuze is not fraud or illogical. He's just a revisionist who has a different viewpoint to many common things. In fact you must read 'A Thousand Plateaus' if you haven't. I may not agreee with his interpretation of Foucault but it's genuinely interesting. 59.182.189.81 (talk) 02:35, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

This article needs sources[edit]

We need sources for summary/analysis of the work. Extensive quoting of the work may help make this easier. Byelf2007 (talk) 20 September 2012

Extensive quoting of the book is probably not a good idea. It would be better to summarize secondary sources. Fortunately, there are many of them. Polisher of Cobwebs (talk) 06:34, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Might be helpful[edit]

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/foucault/ Byelf2007 (talk) 20 September 2012

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/arch Probably not a source, but still maybe helpful. Byelf2007 (talk) 20 September 2012

Keep or remove 'needs expert attention'?[edit]

The article had more detail before we took the majority of it out. There is a good amount of detail now. Should we keep up the banner a while longer or is it now unnecessary? Byelf2007 (talk) 1 December 2012

Keep, of course, maybe even 'needs a complete rewriting'? --Aleksd (talk) 00:49, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Complete copy & paste[edit]

I don't think copy & paste works in a text, just because somewhere else a sentence has a meaning taking it out of context and putting it into a new one, only because the source seems reliable is not a very thoughtful thing. I mean if you don't have understanding of a topic not writing is better than simply copy&pasting

this passage and probably other from Stanford encyclopedia

Foucault's explicitly presents The Order of Things as an “archaeological” approach to the history of thought. Three years later, in 1969, he published The Archaeology of Knowledge, a methodological treatise that explicitly formulates what he took to be the archeological method that he used not only in The Order of Things but also (at least implicitly) in History of Madness and The Birth of the Clinic. The premise of the archaeological method is that systems of thought and knowledge (epistemes or discursive formations, in Foucault's terminology) are governed by rules, beyond those of grammar and logic, that operate beneath the consciousness of individual subjects and define a system of conceptual possibilities that determines the boundaries of thought in a given domain and period.

and also I am not quite sure 'promoting' is the best verb in describing philosophical works

The Archaeology of Knowledge (French: L'archéologie du savoir) ....is a methodological and historiographical treatise promoting what Foucault calls "archaeology" or the "archaeological method"

Philosophy is not marketing and it is not a MALL of promotions--Aleksd (talk) 00:43, 28 July 2013 (UTC)