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53). However, for him, discourse is not equivalent to language or reality. On the other hand, he argues that discourse constrains one’s perceptions on reality and affects the way one perceives reality. Many hold that for Foucault there exist no non-discursive realms as his writings always suggest that everything is constructed and conveyed through discourse (Mills, 2003, p. 55). Foucault argues that even our understanding of physical materials take place through various discourses. For instance, one’s notions of a perfect body, feelings of tiredness or stress, and physical or mental well-being are governed by related discourses. Discourse and the structures it imposes on one’s thinking play a significant part in the understanding of material objects and the world. Even the ritualistic non-serious talk when an English man begins the conversation is part of a discourse as one very easily notices the absence of such non-serious talk. In fact, discourses around the individual are so powerful and influencing that one is unable to think or express outside these discursive constraints.
For Foucault, the notion of exclusion is significant to discourse and he purports that each discourse is characterized by forces that either try to circulate or suppress it (Mills, 2003, p. 54). Foucault also observes that the production of discourse is selected, controlled and regulated in every society. Each society excludes discourses based on both external and internal components. External exclusions take place because of taboo, the distinction between the mad and the sane, and the distinction between true and false (Mills, 2003, p. 57). While taboo acts as a strong excluding factor Foucault points out that the discourses of insane people are discarded by the society whereas what is true is determined by positions of power. On the other hand, the ...Show more
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The article throws light on Foucault’s various definitions of discourse and critically examines his insights on the external and internal…
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