Dialogue July- September, 2005, Volume 7  No. 1

Edward Said, Derrida and Foucault: The Postcolonial Position

Sanjoy Saksena

Foucault and Derrida are the two most influential theorists of the day. It is therefore natural that Edward Said should turn towards them for bolstering his post-colonial project and protest against all forms of colonial domination and the imposition of the protocols of history, critically examines their basic critical premises and attempt to adapt them to his advantage. Said’s discomfiture with Derrida is the result of an indeterminacy that is at the core of his critical philosophy.1 The point for Said is not just to describe and interpret his post-colonial world and the grim historical realities that surround it but to change them. Said’s relationship with Foucault has been a far more productive one and where ever Derrida figures it is because as an exile he is not willing to give up to any intellectual seduction that could hamper the working out of an independent “cogent critical position”.

One of Derrida’s most potent political criticism is that his deconstruction lapses into the vectors of “tradition” at the very same time it wishes to go beyond it due to the quasi-logical nature of its radicality. His philosophical technology attempts to re-invent politics, assist in developing a political critique, but its very aporetic center by re-articulating on differential lines leaves one in a twilight zone that a post-colonial activist (like Said) finds displacing but, at the same time, too fluid for an concrete action.

Said’s admissions of the influence of Michel Foucault on him are numerous nor does he make any secret of other theoretical influences on him but while he does this he also makes it clear that he does not abide by “the sovereignty of (any) systematic method” expounded by any theoretician. This could be seen as being a part of his larger intellectual position as an exile, as one who is not willing to give to any historical or intellectual seduction and as one who would strive to continue to be “unaccommodated, un-coopted and resistant”.2 His employment of the two theoreticians, Foucault and Derrida, is merely to chart out an independent “cogent position” for himself assist as they do in “cognitive activity” despite their “contrasting” positions.

Derrida and Foucault are opposed to each other on a number of grounds, and perhaps the one specially singled out in Foucault’s attack on Derrida – that Derrida is concerned only with “reading” a text and that a text is nothing more than the “traces” found there by the reader – would be the appropriate one to begin with here. According to Foucault, if the text is important for Derrida because its real situation is literally an abysmally textual element, l’ecriture en abime with which (Derrida says in “La double séance”) criticism so far has been unable really to deal, then for Foucault the text is important because it inhabits an element of power (pouvoir) with a decisive claim on actuality, even though that power is invisible or implied. Derrida’s criticism therefore moves us into the text, Foucault’s in and out of it.3 

What Said is at pains to stress is that if Derrida helps in reading the text, the Foucauldian approach comes to one’s rescue when it comes to analyzing the way power manifests itself in it and through it. The two combined theoretically actually make one see that which is embedded deep in the text and is therefore oblivious to the ordinary eye. Said presumes that perhaps Foucault may have agreed with Derrida’s definition of textuality – that a text could only be a text if it can conceal the rules of its composition and the method of “internal play”, which makes it incomprehensible. The text by its very nature does not give itself up to something that one may describe as “perception”. It is this secretive and inaccessible nature of the text that preoccupies both Foucault and Derrida – and of course Said who is out to decipher those “invisible” elements inside that are relevant for a post-colonial critique.

Said finds in both Derrida and Foucault a subscription to the “Gnostic doctrine” that the text withholds meaning – that its true implications have to be excavated or found out by a process of deconstruction. Neither the text’s meaning nor its implications are disclosed “immediately” for numerous currents and cross-currents are at work. They are hidden within layers of the text and that which is obviously stated is just a fragment of the whole. Said does not stop here but goes on to expatiate on “Foucault’s whole enterprise” – as to how power is at work within innocuous lines. For Said as well as Foucault all that the text conceals can also be revealed if it is seen as being a part of a network of power. In its textual form power tries to make itself obscure, hide itself under textuality and knowledge. Therefore, it becomes the function of criticism to make the text more visible, the obscure more accessible and clear. It is the supposedly obscure that is of prime importance for in it are contained those elements that work surreptitiously at a subterranean level. These elements need to be worked out and exposed for in them lie seeds of consensual hegemony – the power of dominant discourse that connives in intellectual subversion. It is here that the “countervailing” capacity of criticism plays an important role, visible as it does make the sub-texts that be traced back to their origins in the power nexus. Said advocates critique to serve as a counter-memory – to serve as a reminder of all that has gone into its making. The working of the text is directly connected with its mechanics – the composition which accounts for its deceptive authority. Archeology is the option that is recommende for it tracks down the antecedents, puts the text within the context of the network that makes it function.4 The network being not merely the surrounding discourses but the entire social, economic and political order.

Said’s position on the problem of textuality is closer to Foucault if his vast body of writing is any indication but as his critical explorations point he would not like to miss out on any opportunity to locate the “traces” and use them to his advantage. The Derridean approach to the text yields what is not there. Derrida when dissecting the text seeks to find out the Western metaphysical import and thought and Foucault epistemes which contribute to the construction of hegemonic culture and those of its institutions which incorporate and control discourse. For Said’s purpose they come handy – tools which facilitate the dismantling of the invisible colonial subtext and other manifestations of power. The effort together with Foucault and Derrida of Said is not merely to “dedefine” all that is challenged afresh but dedefine persistently so that the presence of power and authority is destablised and where possible dissolved. The main thrust of both Foucault and Derrida is to subvert dominance and seduction of straight forward “reference” which in Derridean parlance is called “presence” or the “transcendental signified”. Presuppositions regarding reference or referring can be got rid of by rigorous deconstruction, a job which has been triumphed over by Derrida at its own “highly eccentric” level with consummate skill in a “prose style, which is sometimes very self-indulgent has a quiet yet maniacal complexity to it that defies translation and perhaps even description”.5 The transcendental signified has been the butt of Foucault’s archaeological incursions which challenge commonly accepted certainties by redefining them with finely tuned “nuanced perspectivism”.

For both writers, their work is meant to replace the tyranny and the fiction of direct reference – to what Derrida calls presence, or the transcendental signified – with the rigor and practice of textuality mastered on its own highly eccentric ground in Derrida’s case, and in Foucault’s, its in its highly protracted, enduring, systematised, and sustained persistence. Dedefinition and antireferentiality are Derrida and Foucault’s common response to the positivist ethos which they both abhor.6 

Because both Foucault and Derrida provide strength to those who try to destabilize the transcendental and the hegemonic, they are much sought after by the post-colonials. This does not discount the “hybrid” and “quasi” nature of their theoretical position for it involves “a quasi-philosophical, quasi-literary, quasi-scientific, quasi-historical” base. Said notices in Derrida an “e’criture double” which involves turning upside down of the forms of cultural domination linked with “metaphysics and hierarchies” and “exploding” “writing in the middle of speech itself”. Such a radical approach cannot but be “unbalanced and unbalancing writing”, an aspect which comprises an “uneven and undecidable” veneer in Derrida’s work which involves describing a text that is to be deconstructed and “enactment” or creation of a new text that ought to be replaced with. Derrida’s approach is a “grotesque explication” of French structuralism and changes its fundamentals into objects whose new manifestation at his hands “mocks” and “overwhelms” the “original” – and even “plays havoc with them”.7 In the same way Said points out “double writing” in Foucault who describes or represents the text under study from the perspective of discourse formation etc. and then attempts to create a new text that would or should as claimed include all that “invisible” texts have ignored or may not speak of. These instances in double writing/e’criture provide examples for the post-colonial critic not only to deconstruct texts but to reconstruct old one’s and recreate new ones self-consciously free from colonial traces.

Said’s critique of Foucault leads to the problem of the individual caught up within the pressures of discourse and the archive which heavily reduces the possibility of making “individual statements” coerced as they are by a “regularising collective”. Therefore, Foucault probed delinquency, problems of sexuality and the penal system where some degree of “anonymity” and disarticulation seemed visible. The problem gets compounded by the enforcement of administrative justice which pushes through the “institutional will” by a rigid and far reaching control, reducing individuals to the level “docility-utility” for its sustenance. Said has pointed out that while Foucault was widely preoccupied with the larger question of individuals being controlled by ‘some suprarational discipline or authority” and despite his cautiousness with any kind of “vulgar determinism”, he does not focus on the question of intentionality behind the social order and power structures.8 Said makes it clear that there is a difference between the impact of the “blindly anonymous” system and the one that is motivated by a set intensions. Said tries to negotiate through the conflict between “voluntary intention “and the ubiquitous “determined movement” for it is a question that was raised by none other than Foucault himself and remained unresolved. The matter becomes terribly important because rules which govern discursive formations can not be broken by any individual and these formations just do not include within their purview merely the control over knowledge but the political system and even the State. “The State is superstructural in relation to a whole series of power networks that invest the body, sexuality, the family, kinship, knowledge, technology, and so forth.”9 Derrida too is troubled by the anonymous nature and power of discursive texts and talks about the “philosophy of presence” with reference to the “superstructural pressures of metaphysics”. With regard to Rousseau he ruminates whether it would be possible for a writer to extricate himself from the totality of logocentricism and how “undecidability and desemanticization” could lead to “insemination” and “infinite substitution”.10 Finally, Said has confessed that he chose to employ both Derrida and Foucault to explore his own truths because both of them together with all their limitations, do aim to support a “critical openness and repeatedly renewed theoretical resourcefulness”. Though Foucault’s influence on Said is all pervasive, his appropriation of Derrida appears justifiable because from him too comes the pointer that critical texts appear “to stand alongside the original text, appearing also to absorb, explain, account for everything in it” and avoid “the wholly predictable monotony of a disengaged critical system”.11 From Derrida also comes the warning, and Said heeds it well, that “there is always something that escapes”. Writing itself has its limitations though it is supposed to be an escape from those schemes which intend closure or try “frame” it or even try to prove that it is “not original”.

The inspiration which Said draws from Derrida is to deconstruct colonialism with the ardour and determination of a soldier fighting in a battle and trying to push his way through enemy lines. The intended critique is supposed to “jump” over the “presumed content”, take different shapes and free language from the burden of supposedly “helpful schemata”. And the hint in all this for the post-colonial critic is all too evident. Said while dealing with the possibilities within deconstructive readings says that one text can be ‘scrambled’ into another. The earlier text because it has been written is helpless and it can be manipulated. The original or earlier text can cohabit in a new sense with the later one and they can ‘exfoliate’. The text that scrambles decentres the preceeding text and this allows misrepresentation and misreadings that can be described as its function. Every successive reading can be looked at as being a ‘substitute for the original’ – an endless process – and the original becomes hypothetical. Thus, intertextuality also becomes a mode of subversion. For the post-colonial critic this becomes symptomatic of the manner in which the origin can be decentred and ‘literally redone’ in consonance with Derrida’s notion of voice, presence and metaphysical origins. The ‘paleonomy’ which is all too visible shows that the old exercises a ‘hold’, or to use his word ‘prise’, on us and we tend to anticipate all that is being said which could be described as ‘impense’, or notions acquired uncritically. It is in this inability to think freely without the burden of the ‘old or persistent ideas’ that bothers Derrida and Foucault both and has a potent import for the post-colonial who is generally at a loss to free himself from the burden of western philosophy and colonialism. Derrida does not try to supplant the old ideas with those of his invention or new ones because it would amount to creating a ‘new orthodoxy’ but the post-colonial caught in the kind of situation in which he finds himself has no other alternative and must confront the problem of representation and substitute received colonial ideas with those of his own invention if he has to do away with the imperialistic traps which lie before and after him. Edward Said tries to tackle the problem by going down into the basics of deconstruction where representation is a key issue. He begins by telling us that according to Plato there is an original and a copy or representation and that ‘representative representation’ emerges due to our urge to make understanding ‘convenient. Since representation is not original and is only a substitute; and that there is a difference between the two which is added to the object when it is considered as being representative, is ‘contaminated’ by difference. The addition of difference to the objects called representative and ‘strictly verbal’ kind of designation results in difference being ‘deferred’.12 Derrida has always held that the signifier and signified are not necessarily related or that they do not bear a strict correspondence with each other which Sassure had imagined to be i.e. a unity between the thing and the word or two sides of the same coin. Since signifiers and signifieds keep clashing and splitting they form new combinations. Signifiers keep transforming into signifieds, and vice versa, and you never arrive at a final signified which is not a signifier in itself.

In this process of endless signification power relations and the pressures of discourse come into play and can abet in hegemonic formations which deserve to be subverted and destroyed. Language itself is ‘diacritical’ or stressed and difference is ‘intrinsic’ to it. For the function of language when perceived not ‘phonetically but graphically’ Derrida uses the word “differance” which Said says is “an unnameable (or unpronounceable) name”. This “bald” restatement of Derridean approach to meaning Said says serves as an eye opener to one who wishes to place himself in a given culture and then analyse it without his perceptions being jaundiced by history, subjectivity or the prevailing circumstances. Since such a critique enables us to not only identify but deal with and finally produce knowledge with reference to reason, Said notices an “urgency” about it. In a way what Said tries to do is to gradually turn fundamental Derridean concepts to his advantages – a position which comes close to Foucault except that where Foucault like Derrida stops, Said moves ahead with his decolonising agenda. If writing or e’criture is an activity which involves endless substitution of one trace by another and the space which a text occupies is activated by free-play, jeu, then intervention is inevitable. Intervention becomes expedient because the text itself is a “self-sufficient site” wherein can be located all kinds of related problems – past texts, authors, and themes which require to be dedefined and dethematicised –the ‘polemical burden’ of Derrida’s work which is to make people ‘rethink’, specially where the ‘mainstays’ of western thought, teleological processes, and totalising literary critical exercises come into play. The valourization of important texts is the result of misreadings which the text itself engenders for in each text is present “every meaning-possibility” in a raw and unresolved condition. According to Said “since we have only writing to deal with writing, our traditional modes of understanding have to be altered considerably”, but while he says this he is, like Derrida, also aware that “outside language we do not possess any way of describing destruction in a manner that does not also rely on the same structure whose structure is being challenged”. Said’s involvement with Derridean style of reworking the givens does open new vistas of thought for the post-colonial but at the same time there is also an awareness that in the process of dedefining with Derrida we run the risk of “muddling traditional thought beyond the possibility of its usefulness”. Derrida’s logic gives one an ‘extra-textual leverage’ implying thereby that in a text textuality crosses into even the most obvious statements. This permeation of textuality ‘bursts’ semantic limits and dissemination perpetually disrupts all writing making the texts ‘ploysemous’ and undecidable about meaning. The text’s hetrodox textuality’ moves in such a way that its dissemination releases a ‘shattering’ and ‘unorganisable energy’ which resides in the conscious and unconscious mind. Thus, while the text seeks to move in a particular direction its disseminations in all directions pulverizes settled meanings – and in these different directions can we locate points which are words loaded with anticoncepts, antinames, and counterideas that cannot be neatly classified. Deconstructive practice tries to release these anticoncepts through ‘mere words’ by rupturing. The ‘entame’ or ‘tear’ or ‘incision’ or ‘rupture’ can be located in the desire of the text to go beyond itself by indicating its incompleteness.

Power and knowledge have always been Foucault’s major concerns because of their serious epistemological implications. It was in 1968 that Foucault’s thought took a shift and he started seeking answers to questions as redical as the political functions of medicine and Pavlovian psychiatry. The Order of Things published in 1966 had left many things unsaid that Foucault wanted to clarify further – and which he did clarify with some aggressiveness. He talked about the problem of discontinuity, specially with regard to the change that he noticed in the medical discourse towards the end the eighteenth century. Foucault noticed an entirely new regime of discourse and knowledge formation that swept the ground from under the feet of past tradition; and this was in contradiction of the continuous image of discourse formation. Going into the mechanics of discourse formation, located a politics in scientific statements that functioned within an “internal regime of power”.13 Said in Orientalism too notices this disjunction in orientalist discourse in the late eighteenth century after Hamman, Herder, Chateaubriand, Silvestre de Sacy and Ernest Stacy entered the scene, the tendency among all of them being to give their analysis a psuedo-scientific colour – systematization and pedagogy that no native can ever subscribe to.

One of the arguments raised against Foucault is that he does not say anything about those “unstable configurations” that arise beyond our thought that is contingent due to the prevailing discourse. There could be thought that was once a part of our thought and may have been wiped out to such an extent that it may not be possible to recover it. Derrida says that there is only one thread that runs through western thinking (logos) and that Foucault’s reading of Descartes is flawed because Descartes did not exclude madness from thought. Foucault had attempted to go beyond western reason into the mysterious meditations of the Orient. Madness is considered to be beyond comprehension through the mediation of the language of reason and Foucault’s attempts to circumvent according to Derrida have led to erratic postulations.14 

Can madness be considered as pure negativity? Derrida does not answer this question even though he raises it. This is, at first sight, surprising, in view of the place of the concept of nothingness in modern French philosophy. But, after further thought, the reason that Derrida does not pursue the matter is plain enough. For Derrida the idea of negativity does not refer to some transcendental reality, but is rather an effect of language. Since language is the medium of reason, the notion of negativity cannot convey us to the secret heart of madness. Such a vehicle is one from which it would never be possible to alight.15 

If unreason and madness are silence how can this silence be decoded in the middle of a communication gap. Derrida is quite sure that silence cannot be excavated and to attempt any such project would amount to an act against madness, defilement of silence. Madness is both silence and a language that “speaks by and to itself’; and if we carry this argument to cultural productions of Africa and the Orient then they are inaccessible to the west.16 Therefore, attempts made by Orientalists to re-present and read, as Said is at pains to emphasize, cannot but be flawed.

Said’s discussion of Derrida is to a large extent with reference to Foucault and with a view to attack the problem of cultural hegemony, specially in relation to post-colonialism. He is aware that both Foucault and Derrida hold ‘divergent views’ but their critical positions provide one with insights into the nature of cultural hegemony, the only fear being their chances of getting solidified. But knowledge being a two way traffic, one generates and imbibes it, exposes the deconstructive method which when reduced to the level of an ‘unthinking system of thought’ becomes unresponsive to the special requirements of change. Derrida has made his apprehensions clear about such a possibility where he fears that teachers working in universities run the risk of ‘mechanically’ passing on their opinions and ideas to their students who in turn could represent them before them, confirming his suspicions.17 The anti-imperialist and anti-colonial activists and thinkers have been afflicted by a similar complacency. This ironically reflects on Derrida too because he occupies a ‘teaching position’ and therefore open to the possibilities of becoming an “agre’-ge’-re’pe’titeur” with all sorts of ideas – those that hardly move, those that become outdated very soon, those ideas of antiquity which support understanding in a variety of ways and those which contain the power to be reused in different circumstances. The point is that be as it may western thought continues to remain an abstraction, whether one talks about it generally or specifically – whether Derrida tries to approve of it or not because as Said says “western thought is something more differentiated, incorporating and, most important, institutionally representative than Derrida seems to allow”.

Derrida too has been aware of the limitations of what has been described as “affirmative deconstruction”, a method of critique which seeks to dispense away with the traditional philosophical systems that comes down the ages to us. However, indulgence in deconstruction does not amount to becoming the converse of the prevailing counter discourse or fundamentals which are innate to the western philosophical tradition-the premises which are sought to be put into question. Derrida’s claim that difference is a “configuration of concepts” which are both “systematic and irreducible” does not go down well with Said because he finds it paradoxical for the concept to be irreducible and yet not a “fixed doctrine.

Derrida may have escaped from falling into a doxa but his hesitation in dealing with his historical situation and programmatically aligning with a kind of ‘work’ weakens the extent of his impact. Though Said is reluctant in dubbing Derrida method as being orthodox, he does not hesitate in expressing his reservations about its efficacy and comprehensiveness because it does not analyse the role of discourse and institutions which generate knowledge and power.18 This dissatisfaction is primarily the result of Said’s Foucauldian position and Derrida’s side tracking of that which maintains the western metaphysical system and makes its praxis possible.

Said is unequivocal about the insufficiency of the Derridean approach for his purposes because Derrida evades locating the causes which make the western metaphysical system persist historically and concentrates merely on the “undecidable elements”. Foucault’s ire at Derrida is too well known because of his “ahistorical” approach to larger questions that confronted both of them. Said clearly has been on Foucault’s side:

At roughly the same time he took on Derrida, who must have seemed to him to have to have become his major domestic competitor for intellectual ascendancy. Even if we allow for Foucault’s clearly genuine fear that an ahistorical laissez-faire attitude was being licensed by the school of deconstruction, there is an edge and a derisive scorn to his words about Derrida that were not typical of him, as if in striking he had to strike definitely at the man who was otherwise affiliated with him by virtue of a common antimythological, anticonservative project. To the best of may knowledge Derrida did not respond to Foucault, a mark of compunction and restraint which led, I believe, to a gradual healing of the rift between them.19 

Said’s preferences are clear but equally clear is his strategic appropriation of Derrida in the middle of much Foucauldianism – an appropriation which strengthens rather than weakens his critical position. Foucault does not confine the text to its textuality but goes out of it to explore the extratextual realities that are present in it by trying to discover its connections with different agencies which disseminate power and play on the text. His attempt is to discern the specific interests that are linked with the text. But it can be said in Derrida’s defence, despite Foucault’s angry reply to him, that Derrida does find scope for pedagogy while emphasising that nothing is outside the text and that in the “interstices”, “white spaces” and “unspokenness” there is the possibility of an indefinite reading. The problem arises because Derrida does not appear to be willing to emphatically recognize that a text is comprised by a succession of discursive events which are administered not merely by an omnipotent author but by numerous pressures exerted on him by the prevailing historical conditions.

Derrida and Foucault therefore collide on how the text is to be described, as a praxis on whose surface and in whose interstices a universal grammatological problematic is enacted or as a fact of highly rarefied and differentiated historical power, associated not with the univocal authority of the author but with a discourse constituting author, text, and subject which gives them a very precise intelligibility and effectiveness. The meaning of this collision is, I think, remarkably significant for contemporary criticism.20 

While Said is more appreciative of Foucault he does not fail to recognize Derrida’s contribution to our understanding of textuality and intertextuality- the texts and philosophies that a text could be feeding on. But this recognition of Derrida’s contribution does not restrict Said from pointing out the “pronounced self-limitation” that is inherent in his modes of analysis –an analysis which is described as an “ascesis” which is both “inhibiting and crippling”. Said’s preference for Foucault is the result of his finding Derrida’s “lucidity of the undecidable” incommensurate with his larger aims where a text’s “identifiable power” comes handy. For Foucault there is antagonism between the text, the author and the discourse which surrounds him and in this conflict there is an interplay of sociological, epistemological and political factors, all of which combine to form his conception of what one could call textual theory.

The relationship between intertextuality and hegemony is important. The concept of intertextuality points to the productivity of texts, to how texts can transform prior texts and restructure existing conventions (genres, discourses) to generate new ones. But this productivity is not in practice available to people as a limitless space for textual innovation and play: it is socially limited and constrained, and conditioned upon relations of power. The theory of intertextuality cannot itself account for these social limitations, so it needs to be combined with a theory of power relations and how they shape (and are shaped) by social structure and practices.21

The fusion of intertextuality/textuality and conceptions of hegemony yield dividends which assist in contesting and restructuring the order of discourse as it functions at numerous sites of post-colonial struggle. The problem as Homi Bhabha states is that “the discourse of post-Enlightenment English colonialism often speaks in a tongue that is forked, not false”.22 To this one could add that it is not just English colonialism but colonialisms of all shades and varieties.

If Derrida is mainly concerned with placing of speech over writing as does much western culture, Foucault’s central concern is writing in a reverse manner – in so far as it is not the indulgence of a free soul but something which is done under pressure form a complex set of forces which try to control the text. It was in 1968 that repositioning appears in Foucault’s work and one can see a greater engagement with language. But even language has been seen by him as being a part of the rarity of discourse which controls and affects cultures and institutions that comprise the realm where it holds sway. Saidian engagement with language is much like Foucault’s with the major difference that his prime concerns are with the impact that the colonial languages have had on post-colonial and colonial societies – readings that are not just linguistic but strategic. While Said’s concerns are primarily post-colonial, Foucault’s are geopolitical and therefore wider. This does not mean that Said’s position is any less considered for he weighs what both Derrida and Foucault have to say about the nature of language. Derrida’s main concern is to free the signifier of any “obligation” it may have to a transcendental signified, Foucault on the other hand is pre-occupied with the role a signifier plays – a role which is laced with the authority of discursive practices and the implications that it has in the structures of power and knowledge. In the constitution of the signifiers can we see the strategic will to power and control of a vast body of diverse materials, a job that Derridean deconstruction ignores and therefore loosens protest against intellectual, cultural and political hegemony that not only Said but all post-colonial critics aim at.

Notes and References

     1.   MacDonald, Eleanor, ‘Derrida and the Politics of Interpretation’ in Miliband, Ralph, Leo Panitech, and John Saville, ed., The Retreat of the Intellectuals: Socialist Register 1990. (London: The Merilin Press, 1990), p. 235.

     2.   Said, Edward, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures. (London: Vintage, 1994), p. 39.

     3.   Said, Edward, ‘The Problem of Textuality: Two Exemplary Positions’, Critical Inquiry, Vol.4, No.4, (1978), p. 674.

     4.   Archeology is “a task that consists of not – of no longer – treating discourses as groups of signs (signifying elements referring to contents or representations) but as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak.’ Foucault, Michel, The Archeology of Knowledge. Trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972), p. 49.

     5.   Said, Edward, Beginnings, Intensions and Method. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p.340.

     6.   Said, Edward, ‘The Problem of Textuality: Two Exemplary Positions’, Critical Inquiry, Vol.4, No.4 (1978), p.675-676.

     7.   Said, Edward, Beginnings, Intensions and Method. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p.340.

     8.   Foucault, Michel, Madness and Civilization: A history of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by R. Howard (New York: Pantheon, 1973), p. 272.

     9.   Gordon, Colin, ed., Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977 by Michel Foucault. (London, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1980), p. 122.

   10.   Also see Derrida, J., Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1976), p.142.

   11.   Said, Edward, ‘The Problem of Textuality: Two Exemplary Positions’. Critical Inquiry, vol.4, no.4, (1978), p. 682.

   12.   Derrida, J. Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982), pp.3-27.

   13.   Gordon, Colin, ed., Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977 by Michel Foucault. (London, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1980), p.112.

   14.   Derrida, J., Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978), p.55-56.

   15.   Boyne, Roy, Foucault and Derrida: The Other Side of Reason. (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), p.57.

   16.   Derrida takes to task Levinas’s contention that ‘there was a fundamental contradiction between Athens and Jerusalem’ and argues against Levinas’s attempted contestation of Greek philosophy by Judaic tradition, simply because, claims Derrida, Levinas must context Greek philosophy with the voice of reason.’ Ashcroft, Bill, Post-colonial Transformations. (London: Routledge, 2001), p.45-46.

   17.   After all the years of Orientalism, since Edward Said’s book started it, the oppositionist vocabulary has been domesticated: the old ‘self’ and the old ‘other’ are now comfortable with each other, and together they ignore the new ‘other’. Binarism is out blurriness is in. Ansell, Keith, Benita Parry and Judith Squires, ed., Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History. New York: 1997, p.61.

   18.   Said also rejects Derrida’s proposition of the deferral of signification, the endless ness of interpretation. Rather, for said texts announce their materiality, their worldiness, by their situatedness in just the same way as speech. Rather than a separation from the world, or from speech, texts announce their link with verbality.’ Ashcroft, Bill and Ahluwalia, Pal, Edward Said. (London: Routledge, 1999), p.22.

   19.   Said, Edward, ‘Michel Foucault, 1927-1984’, Raritan, vol.4, no.2 (1984), p.7.

   20.   Said, Edward, ‘The Problem of Textuality: Two Exemplary Positions’. Critical Inquiry, vol.4, no.4, (1978), p.703.

   21.   Fairclough, Norman, Discourse and Social Change. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992), p. 102-103.

   22.   Bhabha, Homi K., The Location of Culture. (London: Routledge, 2000), p.85.


Dialogue (A quarterly journal of Astha Bharati)

              Astha Bharati