- Discontinuity (Postmodernism)
For Michel Foucault (1926-84), discontinuity and continuity reflect the flow of history and the fact that some "things are no longer perceived, described, expressed, characterised, classified, and known in the same way" from one era to the next. (1994).
In developing the theory of archaeology of knowledge, Foucault was trying to analyse the fundamental codes which a culture uses to construct the episteme or configuration of knowledge that determines the empirical orders and social practices of each particular historical era. He adopted discontinuity as a positive working tool. Some of the discourse would be regular and continuous over time as knowledge steadily accumulates and society gradually establishes what will constitute truth or reason for the time being. But, in a transition from one era to the next, there will be overlaps, breaks and discontinuities as society reconfigures the discourse to match the new environment.
The tool is given an expanded role in genealogy, the next phase of discourse analysis, where the intention is to grasp the total complexity of the use of power and the effects it produces. Foucault sees power as the means for constituting individuals’ identities and determining the limits of their autonomy. This reflects the symbiotic relationship between power (pouvoir) and knowledge (savoir). In his study of prisons and hospitals, he observed how the modern individual becomes both an object and subject of knowledge. Science emerges as a means of directing and shaping lives. Hence, the modern conception of sexuality emerges from Christian codes of morality, the science of psychology, the laws and enforcement strategies adopted by the police and judiciary, the way in which issues of sexuality are discussed in the public media, the education system, etc. These are covert forms of domination (if not oppression), and their influence is to be found not only in what is said, but more importantly, in what is not said: in all the silences and lacunae, in all the discontinuities. If one idea is discussed, then it is not discussed, whose interest is served by this change?
Foucault, M. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Vintage; Reissue edition (1994) ISBN 0-679-75335-4
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Discontinuity — may refer to: Discontinuity (casting), a harmless irregularity in a casting Discontinuity (Geotechnical engineering) in geotechnics is a plane or surface marking a change in physical or chemical properties in a soil or rock mass Discontinuity… … Wikipedia
List of topics in social and political philosophy — * And theory of conservatism * A Conflict of Visions * A Few Words on Non Intervention * A Vindication of the Rights of Men * Accountability * Action theory * Actual Idealism * Adam Müller * Adamites * Agency (philosophy) * Aggravation of class… … Wikipedia
Postmodern art — is a term used to describe art which is thought to be in contradiction to some aspect of modernism, or to have emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general movements such as Intermedia, Installation art, Conceptual Art and Multimedia,… … Wikipedia
literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… … Universalium
Modernism — For other uses of the word, see Modernism (disambiguation). For the period in sociology beginning with the industrialization, see Modernity. Hans Hofmann, The Gate , 1959–1960, collection: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Hofmann was renowned not… … Wikipedia
Magic realism — or magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction  in which magical elements blend with the real world. The story explains these magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the real and… … Wikipedia
postmodernist writing — The foremost difficulty in characterizing postmodernist writing is distinguishing it from the traits of high modernist texts such as Woolf’s Orlando, Eliot’s The Waste Land and Joyce’s Ulysses. Because the texts of both periods are associated… … Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture
German literature — Introduction German literature comprises the written works of the German speaking peoples of central Europe. It has shared the fate of German politics and history: fragmentation and discontinuity. Germany did not become a modern nation… … Universalium
Modernism (music) — Periods of Western art music Early Medieval (500–1400) Renaissance (1400–1600) Baroque (1600–1760) Common practice Baroque (1600–1760) … Wikipedia
Modern history — Modern and Modern Age redirect here. For other uses, see Modern (disambiguation) and Modern Age (disambiguation). Human history This box: view · talk · … Wikipedia