Friday, July 19, 2019
The Category of the Individual Essay -- Sociology Sociological Papers
The Category of the Individual In The Order of Things, Michel Foucault argues that there is a "pure experience of order and its modes of being" (Foucault xxi), that order exists and that it is necessary. Foucault is concerned with language because it is a mode by which we maintain order in the world, and according to his argument, what we should fear are heterotopias, which "undermine language," "make it impossible to name this and that," "shatter or tangle common names," and "destroy 'syntax' in advance" (Foucault xviii). When Foucault refers to 'syntax,' he is not just talking about our method of constructing sentences but "also that less apparent syntax which causes words and things (next to and also opposite one another) to 'hold together'" (Foucault xviii). In other words, there is need for us to take into account how the things in our world are related to each other. One of the ways in which we do this is through the method of categorization, which allows us to organize our world according to similarities an d differences. However, Foucault stresses us to be cautious, to realize that "we shall never succeed in defining a stable relation of contained to container between each of these categories and that which includes them all" (Foucault xvii). An all-inclusive category does not exist; it cannot exist. Foucault insists on the need to pay attention to what is present in the "empty space, the interstitial blanks separating all these entities from one another" (Foucault xvi). It is not that language is inadequate; it is just that we must be conscious of not only what is stated but also what is not directly stated, what is contained inside language and what is outside language. When we organize the things in the world in... ...gle words. I don't believe in 'sadness,' 'joy,' or 'regret.' Maybe the best proof that language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling" (Eugenides 217). We must realize that the only "normal" that exists is what is "normal" to the individual, to us. Our categories do not define us; we define ourselves. Through our experiences, we create identities that are unique to us, and we, as "others," must learn to value our individual experiences because that is where the answer is, where it always has been. Works Cited: Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. New York: Picador, 2002. Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage Books. Moraga, CherrÃ e. "The Breakdown of the Bicultural Mind." Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity. Eds. Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi. New York: Routledge.