Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fantastic! A new forum in which I can talk about Foucault.

Hello all:

Coming from a background in literature and critical theory, I admit that a lot of the research methods discussed in this book are ones I've never experienced first-hand. However, as someone who has done a lot of work with critical theory and literature, I am quite comfortable with the idea of multiple "truths" and the idea that research can contribute to a larger discussion without an obsessive focus on finding an absolute "truth."

I'm particularly interested in discussions of Foucault, obviously, but in the interest of not being tiresome to myself and others I'll try and limit my obsessive nattering about him. The other (brief) discussion that caught my eye was Luker's reference to Stephen Skowronek's term adminstrative capacity, which she calls "the institutional willingness and capacity to get things done" (27). Although I am not familiar with Skowronek's work, this did start me thinking a bit of the Canadian government's "institutional willingness and capacity" to get things done, and surprisingly I found myself writing (per the exercises at the end each chapter) not about Foucault and surveillance (which I assumed I would write about), but about the repeated calls for research (by fisherman, residents, and a few professors in Western Canada who have done some small, independent research) into various citizen health problems and animal mutations around the Athabasca Lake area and oil sands. I think the government has the "capacity" to do this research, but perhaps they lack the "willingness." Anyways, I'm not really sure if there's a research project in there somewhere, but it did set the wheels in my tiny brain spinning for a while.

I am well over the word limit and feel as if I've barely scratched the surface, so I'll quit until next week.

1 comment:

  1. Word limit? I think we've all gone over that one. :)
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't seen these methods "in action"... Since I feel sometimes we entirely miss the boat when looking for that "absolute truth" (and really, doesn't that limit everything, in a way? Not just research and the way we think about things, but also the ripple effect of that in society and all of our standpoints on things) I'm delighted to be given free encouragement to guide my own research away from that.
    Back to your post: have you done a lot of work with Foucault before?