3a.ikuscommentary.j_ger_wrbouschek (p)

3a.ikuscommentary.j_ - The
Problem
of
Critique
and
its
Inherent
Standards
(of


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Unformatted text preview: The
Problem
of
Critique
and
its
Inherent
Standards
(of
 Truth).
A
Cursory
Response
to
Markus
Wrbouschek
 SIEGFRIED
JÄGER
 University
of
Duisburg/Essen
&
 Duisburg
Institute
of
Language
and
Social
Research
(DISS)
 
 
 
 Markus
 Wrbouschek’s
 (2009)
 paper
 overall
 and
 mainly
 revolves
 around
 a
 single
 problem:
 the
 problem
 of
 profound
 critique.
 The
 different
 approaches
 discussed
 by
 Wrbouschek
are
methodically
close.
They
diverge
in
the
central
question
whether
critics
 are
able
 or
supposed
 to
either
 criticize
discourses
from
the
 outside
or
 take
 part
 in
 the
 discursive
battle
with
their
critique.
 

 I
advance
the
position
that
critics
themselves
 can
only
move
about
within
discourse.
If
 they
 take
 their
 own
 model
 of
 interpretation
 serious
 they
 cannot
 criticize
 discourses
 from
 without,
 i.e.,
 from
 a
 position
 outside
 of
 discourse.
 A
 Foucauldian
 theory
 of
 discourse
does
not
assume
such
an
outside
at
all.
 

 This
position
needs
to
be
discussed
in
detail,
and
I
propose
to
start
off
such
a
discussion
 with
the
Foucauldian
concept
of
dispositive.
A
dispositive
in
a
Foucauldian
sense
consists
 of
three
elements
that
are
tightly
interwoven:
discourses,
practices,
and
material
objects.
 These
 three
 ‘levels’
 share
 something
 that
 may
 be
 called
 knowledge1
 (or
 not‐ knowledge/ignorance):
 

 •
Discourses
‘transport’
knowledge,

 •
action
is
knowledge‐based,

 •
 material
 objects
 are
 infiltrated
 with
 knowledge
 that
 can
 be
 interpreted
 or
 reinterpreted
 by
 the
 analyst
 (Foucault
 1978,
 Jäger
 2001,
 Link
 2007,
 Bührmann
 and
 Schneider
2008).
 

 Knowledge
always
resides
on
the
part
of
the
interpreting
(‘knowing’)
persons,
not
within
 discourses,
 within
practice,
or
 within
material
objects.
Knowledge
can
only
be
captured
 as
 discursive
 knowledge,
 i.e.,
 as
 human
 interpretation.2
 As
 is
 commonly
 known,
 these
 interpretations
 vary
 substantially.
 They
 are,
 in
 blunt
 words,
 as
 pluralistic
 as
 science
 itself?,
not
to
mention
different
regions,
‘cultures,’
times,
genders,
generations,
ages,
etc.,
 or
however
one
may
call
it.
If
this
is
right,
and
it
seems
right
to
me—but
what
is
right?—,
 then
 there
 is
 no
 social
or
 natural
 reality
in
 a
strict
sense.
Unfortunately,
 all
 we
have
at
 our
disposal
as
analysts
are
interpretations
of
interpretations
of
interpretations...
(I
will
 not
address
the
fruitless
dispute
about
the
wounded
who
does
feel
pain,
because
pain
is
 an
interpretation,
too).

 
 




























































 1 
 The
 English
 word
 ‘knowledge’
 stands
 for
 both,
 the
 german
 Wissen
 as
 well
 as
 Erkenntnis .
 There
 are
 specific
differences
in
connotation
beween
the
two
German
expressions.
Throughout
this
text
‘knowledge’
 stands
for
Wissen.
Where
it
denotes
Erkenntnis
the
german
expression
is
given
in
brackets.

 2
I
slide
over
the
problematic
relation
between
discourse
and
subject
on
purpose.

 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
45
‐
49
 45
 There
is
no
objective
truth
we
could
refer
to
but
only
cultural‐historical
 ‘truths’
that
are
 (reasonably)
 valid,
 respectively,
 and
 that
 are
 constantly
 struggled
 for
 (In
 this
 respect,
 Foucault
 does
 not
 always
 seem
 to
 agree
 with
 himself:
 After
 all,
 in
 some
 passage
 he
 writes—I
cite
from
memory:
“Those
who
think
I
am
not
concerned
with
truth
are
only
 ghosts
who
make
it
easy
for
themselves.”
I
will
return
to
this).
 Foucault
 has
 thus
 suggested
 that
 critique
 can
 only
 be
 practiced—mainly
 and
 maybe
 ultimately—on
the
basis
of
an
 attitude,
i.e.,
on
the
basis
of
a
subjective
‘truth’
one
has
to
 profess
 to.
 He
 coins
 such
 an
 attitude
 “virtue”
 (Foucault,
 1997,
 p.
 28).
 Subsequently,
 he
 also
calls
it
a
“form
of
art,”
i.e.,
an
ethical
and
political
attitude
he
describes
as
“the
art
of
 not
being
governed
or,
better,
the
art
of
not
being
governed
like
that
and
at
that
cost.”
As
 a
 general
 characterization
 he
 proposes
 “the
 art
 of
 not
 being
 governed
 like
 that”
 (Foucault,
1997,
p.29).3
 
 The
 critic
 who
 enters
 into
 discourse
 with
 his/her
 critique
 can
 invoke
 the
 violation
 of
 (more
 or
 less)
 consensual
 and
 rather
 normative
 postulates
 like
 the
 constitution,
 international
law,
or
human
rights,
even
more
so
if
their
defense
comes
along
with
their
 violation.
Jacques
Derrida
has
ceaselessly
called
attention
to
this
point.
At
the
same
time,
 what
should
always
be
at
stake
is
the
critical
interrogation
and
deconstruction
of
these
 very
 concepts.
 It
 is
 also
 important
 to
 reflect
 on
 their
 interculturally
 and
 historically
 contingent
 groundings
 and
 conditions.
 Such
 critique
 of
 course,
 takes
 place
 within
 discourse
and
in
return
exposes
itself
to
the
possibility
of
critique.

 
 It
 is
 understood
 that
 evidently
 wrong
 statistics,
 persistent
 narrow‐minded
 common
 places,
sensationalizing
news
reports,
claiming
a
lack
of
alternatives,
legitimizing
crime,
 war,
 racism,
 sexism,
 etc.,
 need
 to
 be
 subject
 to
 critique
 (within
 discourse).
 But,
 as
 we
 know,
this
critique
also
bespeaks
an
attitude
that
is
not
shared
by
everyone.
 
 Even
 Derrida’s
 attempt
 of
 posing
 a
 non‐deconstructable
 ‘justice,’
 the
 only
 just
 foundation
for
a
true
(future)
democracy
that
really
 deserves
its
name,
as
the
standard
 of
critique
is
in
my
view
ultimately
an
attitude.

 
 Such
an
attitude
invokes
a
‘truth’
one
honestly
and
openly
advances
as
a
parrhesiastes
in
 a
 Foucauldian
 sense,
 i.e.,
 as
 a
 truth‐teller,
 sometimes
 as
 a
 fool
 or
 an
 artist,
 e.g.,
 as
 a
 comedian.
The
fool
invokes
his
own
truth,
which
he
courageously
advances
as
the
truth,
 i.e.,
as
an
objectively
advanced
truth
Foucault
refers
to
in
calling
all
those
who
think
he
 was
 not
 concerned
 with
 truth
 are
 minds
 who
 make
 it
 all
 too
 easy
 for
 themselves
 (Foucault
2005a,
p.
825).
 
 Of
 course,
 Foucault
 said
 all
 this
 with
 laughter
 or
 at
 least
 with
 a
 wink,
 like
 Grimmelshausen’s
 Simplizius
 Simplizissimus,
 the
 motto
 of
 this
 baroque
 novel.
 Reading
 the
 novel,
 however,
 one
 soon
 discovers
 how
 serious
 Grimmelshausen
 was
 about
 the
 matter
and
how
soon
laughter
freezes
in
our
throats.
 
 In
 fact,
 the
 question
 is
 also
 about
 the
 meaning
 of
 interpretation:
 Of
 course,
 discourse
 analysis
 as
an
 analysis
of
statements
 (énoncés)
 is
not
an
end
in
itself.4
It
is
not
content
 




























































 3
 He
 then
 refers
 affirmatively
 to
 Kant
 but
 also
 accuses
 him
 of
 burdening
 us
 with
 the
 knowledge
 (Erkenntnis)
of
knowledge
(Erkenntnis).
On
governementality
see
the
works
of
Thomas
Lemke.
 4
 See
 for
 the
 d istinction
 between
 utterance
 (énonciation)
 and
 statement
 (énonce)
 Foucault
 1988.
 Statements
 can
 be
 understood
 as
 the
 atoms
 of
 discourse.
 Linguistics
 deals
 with
 utterances,
 i.e.,
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
45
‐
49
 46
 with
 the
 cheerful
 positivism
 Foucault
 with
 laughter
 admitted.
 It
 also
 claims
 to
 be
 an
 interpretation.
 It
 can
 only
 do
 justice
 to
 this
 claim,
 however,
 when
 its
 results
 are
 interpreted
in
the
light
of
the
presumed
theory,5
i.e.,
when
they
are
judged
or,
in
other
 words,
 criticized.
 Interpretation
 can
 be
 understood
 as
 an
 analysis
 (and
 critique)
 of
 analyses.
 

 The
standards
 of
critique
would
be
worth
further
discussion
(Foucault,
 2005c).
Do
they
 imply
 normative
 standards,
 i.e.,
 positive
 or
 intended
 positive
 foundations
 of
 human
 shared
existence,
maybe
only
in
the
future;
certain
ideals
of
society;
ethical
principles
as
 advanced
 by
 Foucault,
 Derrida,
 and
 earlier
 Walter
 Benjamin
 (Benjamin,
 1972):
 Benjamin’s
 principle
 of
 taking
 responsibility
 for
 the
 past,
 e.g.,
 past
 revolutions,
 or
 Derrida’s
 principle
 of
 a
 non‐deconstructable
 justice
 (Derrida,
 1995;
 1996)?
 Alternatively,
 do
 such
 standards
 require
 a
 “messianicity
 without
 messianism,”
 i.e.,
 a
 messianicity
without
religion,
the
arrival
of
which
we
can
and
must
only
await
(Derrida
 1999,
p.
250)?6
 
 I
can
only
interpret
Foucault’s
claim
and
maintaining
of
being
concerned
with
 the
truth
 as
a
struggle
for
a
truth
that
could
be
understood
as
an
ethical
virtue.
This
virtue
cannot
 be
conceived
of
as
a
law
to
be
carved
in
stone
but
as
an
illimitable
aim.
 

 These
 terse
 reflections
 activated
 in
 me—again—by
 Markus’
 text
 do
 not
 claim
 to
 have
 taken
up
and
discussed
all
problems
tapped
by
him.
I
want
to
address
a
few,
though:

 
 Ruth
Wodak’s
and
the
Duisburg
approach
are
in
my
view
very
close.
Differences
are
only
 manifest
 in
 diverging
 notions
 of
 discourse.
 The
 political
 aims
 of
 both
 approaches
 are
 identical.

 
 Hakan
Gürses’
philosophical
reflections,
as
summed
up
by
Markus,
are
very
interesting
 to
my
mind
and
can
fertilize
the
discussion
about
possibilities
of
critique.

 
 The
 phrasing
 “relative
 relativity,”
 quoted
 from
 an
 interview
 Rainer
 Diaz‐Bone
 has
 conducted
with
me
is
admittedly
rather
‘blunt.’
In
my
view,
however,
it
is
justly
directed
 against
 the
 accusations
 of
 relativism
 sometimes
 still
 brought
 up
 against
 Foucaultian
 theory
of
discourse.7
 
 
 
 





























































































































































































 performances.
 It
 can
 also
 provide
 important
 instruments
 (for
 the
 Foucauldian
 ‘toolbox’)
 in
 order
 to
 support
the
analysis
of
statements.
It
cannot
claim
to
conduct
discourse
analyses,
however,
if
clinging
to
 these
instruments
only
(Jäger,
2008).
 5
 This
 point
 is
 of
 crucial
 importance
 to
 me.
 Methods
 are
 not
 free
 floating;
 they
 presuppose
 the
 theories
 that
generate
them.
The
act
of
interpretation
draws
upon
methodologically
analysed
empirical
results
as
 well
as
upon
the
presumed
theory
in
the
‘light’
of
which
the
interpretation
is
conducted
(Jäger
and
 Jäger,
 2007).

 6
 Derrida,
 in
 opposition
 to
 Walter
 Benjamin’s
 conception,
 claims
 that
 the
 messianic
 has
 no
 fundamental
 relation
 to
 what
 we
 usually
 understand
 as
 messianism:
 our
 memory
 of
 a
 specific
 historical
 experience
 (Jewish
 or
 Christian‐Jewish),
 or
 a
 rather
 concrete
 figure
 Jesus.
 In
 Derrida’s
 sense,
 the
 pure
 sturcture
 of
 messianicity
 without
 messianism
 excludes
 these
 two
 forms.
 Derrida
 does
 not
 want
 to
 vilify
 or
 destruct
 these
two
forms
but
maintains,
however,
that
their
universal
and
quasi‐transcendental
ground
is
exactly
 the
structure
of
‘without
messianism.’
 7
Compare
for
a
renunciation
of
this
critique
Zimmermann,
2008.
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
45
‐
49
 47
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 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 Siegfried
 Jäger
 studied
 German,
 English,
 Philosophy,
Theology
and
 Art
 history
 in
Bonn
 and
 Exeter
 (1957‐1963).
 In
 1967
 he
 completed
 his
 PhD.
 
 He
 is
 the
 director
 of
 the
 Duisburger
Institute
for
Language
and
Social
Research
(Duisburger
Institut
für
Sprach‐
 und
Sozialforschung,
 since
1987)
and
 is
Professor
 at
 the
University
of
Duisburg/Essen
 (Germany,
since
1973),
at
which
he
has
now
received
the
status
of
Emeritus
since
2002.
 Some
of
his
maininterests
are
discourse
of
multiculturalism,
racism
and
immigration.
E‐ Mail:[email protected] 
 
 
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
45
‐
49
 49
 ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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