As I started studying the history of religions I started with a Seminar called “Zen Buddhism”. It was a rough seminar taking a whole Monday every week and a lot to read between. As I started with comparative religion I heard my professors and colleagues talking, but I couldn’t make sense out of it what they were talking about. At this moment I started learning transcultural psychology which has other terms and ways of thinking, so I wasn’t prepared for Seminar that is usually for students in the 5th semester.
There are some terms in the humanities, which have to be described starting to work further on this platform. One of this basic terms oscillates around the famous french philosopher Michel Foucault. In his lifework he describes significant changes of the human experience in Europe, covering over 500 years of history and has given important influences in the way scholars, journalists etc. in the humanities are working and thinking today. Just to mention, he also has his own look.
Foucault was a poststructuralist philosopher of power, history, knowledge, and discourse. You don’t get often asked what a discourse is because most people know what it is – derived from our own usage of language. On the other hand, if you ask “what is a discourse?” the question could take hours to get explained and you would probably still not get to an agreeable last standing answer.
I once was at a party with friends hosted over a nightclub as I started thinking.
n and over discursive perspectives. One of my friends, she is a more experienced linguist than I am, started to have a conversation with me about what I have learned the last weeks. I used the opportunity to learn more from an
experienced teacher and asked tons of questions, made commentaries and spoke critique. We were sitting together for over 3 and a half hours glowing for our discussion drinking our beer having a lot of fun, before she was standing up, yelling at me: ”I missed the whole other party” and
straight leaving the room. Hilarious moment.
In this sense I start to define what I understand a discourse is or better are, discourses are networks in which human and non-human agents communicate with each other. It defines how they communicate with each other and about what they are communicating about. Foucault’s theories do not only include institutions, corporate identities, global agents so on and so forth, discourse theory can be experienced in daily human lives. We all have encountered there are whichsoever situations where we find ourselves not allowed to say particular things running through our minds, framed in a network of enabling and disabling possibilities to act.
This is instances where power comes into play and forces us to reconsider in which place and time we are, what we are allowed to do and what we should not even consider doing. Power, in a Foucaultian way, doesn’t mean that there is an entity standing above all our institutions, governmental bodies and individual beings. Power, so Foucault, has to be seen as a network between agents, humans, objects and institutions.
Every communication you go through can be described as a relational power connection. If you have a seminar, a meeting or another business arrangement you are engaged in a ton of such connections. You can’t interrupt your boss or professor while he or she is speaking, but a lot of communication trainer would suggest having a talk with your boss at a work party recently in form of Christmas parties lately.
This is the first part of a quick theoretical summary on Michel Foucault. Next Week Monday there will be a second part about how people attain knowledge and how that responds with their daily life perception and the third part will be about how that responds to power relationships. As well I will update this article on Thursday, so maybe you give it a second time to read and find some new stuff. As well on Thursday I publish the second part of shamanism, which is going to have 5 to 6 episodes. And to give you more cookies I am preparing right now some new topics, one of them will be released this evening, so stay tuned.