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Foucault The Archeology of Knowledge The Archeology of Knowledgeis Foucault's attempt, after the fact, to describe theoretically the method he used in his first three books of history (Madness and Civilization,The Birth of the Clinic,and The Order of Things). This is, then, not the presentation of a formal theory built logically from axioms, but a description of a specific kind of approach to history (a 'way of speaking' about history). Archeological analysis seeks to describe the history of discourse, the setof 'things said' in all its interrelations and transformations. These processes occur at a very specific level, which is neither the level of the events of history, nor the level of a teleological 'progress' of ideas, nor the level of an accumulation of formal knowledge, nor the level of the popular or unspoken 'spirit of the times.' The analysis of discourse abandons all preconceptions about historical unity or continuity, describing instead the processes of discourse in all their disruptions, thresholds, differences, and complex varieties.