What is archeology about

4.4.2.1 "Archeology of Knowledge"

Michel Foucault put his extensive discourse-historical studies of the 1960s under the common label of "archeology". The theme of "Archeology" is the theoretical and methodological reflection of historical work. In the "Archeology of Knowledge" (1969) it was expanded into a methodological program.

In the "Archeology" fine not the general, supra-historical construction laws of discourses, but about theconcrete historical conditions of the actual emergence and existence of discourses. Foucault clearly distances himself from a hermeneutically oriented history of ideas (which asks for a hidden meaning): His attention is less focused on ideas than on segments of knowledge, thought patterns, discourse types and unspoken fields of knowledge on which ideas are based. (Brieler 1998; Lemke 1997). One goal of discourse analysis is to determine the conditions of possibility and the Power effects of what has been said to tap into.

Foucault understands Discourses primarily as a collection of statements, words and signs. Discourses are included, however not just as labels for things to analyze, but also in their Function of the order foundation, establishment of boundaries of what can be said and for the production of knowledge objects to see.

Foucault dealt, among other things, with the historical and current discourses on insanity and their significance for the construction of a "European reason", in the picture: Wiener Narrenturm, photo: Wikipedia

Discourses "systematically" [form] the objects of which they speak. These discourses consist of signs, but they use these signs for more than just to describe things. This more makes them irreducible to speech and language. This more must to bring to light and describe "(Foucault 1969, 74). - Example: The production of the object "mental illness" through the medical-psychiatric discourse in the 19th century (Foucault 1968/1954; 1961).

Be in "archeology" Discourses not viewed in isolation, but analyzed in connection with practices, institutions and theories, i.e. it is also about the "relationships between the discursive formations and the non-discursive areas (institutions, political events, economic practices and processes)" (Foucault 1969, 231). Foucault is thus directed against the idea that a statement on a certain topic could be interpreted in isolation: interpretations must always uncover discursive rules that allow statements in this form.

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