When Foucault says "we"...

Alain Brossat


This paper presents a number of objections to the characterization of Foucault as a "eurocentric", “occidentalist” thinker. It shows how Foucault proceeds by space-time cuts (découpes) while never assuming the exemplarity of the topographies he is studying. Far from seeking to affix the seal of the universal on the analyses he proposes of specified objects, he insists on the singularities of the operations he studies, of the "dark acts" on which he works. Foucault is a "eurocentric" thinker only in a purely tautological sense, as he scored his research and fieldwork in a European space, which is not a presumption as to the particular value of those topographies but represents thevconditions of possibility that, at the time of his research, are his own. He has insteadvconsistently attempted to highlight the non-exportability of the conclusions he drawsvfrom his research and has applied himself to move in the field of knowledge and in hisvown methods of problematising. He remains, moreover, the one who, amongvcontemporary philosophers, emphasized with more insistance the reason for thevhistoricity of truth, a pattern that moves him away from all the common prejudicesvabout eurocentric and occidentalist “universalism”.


Culture; knowledges; cuts; occidentalism; eurocentrism

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv.2013.2.93

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