New ARC essay by Koopman

The ARC, which as far as I can make out (they don’t post often), is a west-coast group of scholars including Paul Rabinow, Jim Faubion and others variously connected with Foucault’s work. The site describes itself as exploring “concept work” which they don’t define so I assume is a discipline-specific term.

Although Foucault crops up (as in the essay below) I don’t think they’re focused on his work (again, they are inwardly directed so it’s hard to tell).

So, at the risk of intruding on their conversation and feeling a bit like the stranger at the party standing next to old friends having a discussion, here is a link to Koopman’s essay drawing contrasts between Foucault and Dewey and “emergence.”

Since emergence is not a common Foucauldian term (Koopman defines it the “name for objects of a form of inquiry that locates itself through problematization (Foucault) and reconstruction (Dewey)” here’s a short excerpt from the beginning of the essay:

Emergence as Problematization and Reconstruction

Inquiries into emergence are best formulated not as theories of why the phenomena under scrutiny had to happen, but rather as concepts or conceptualizations which enable us to grasp the theoretical and practical forms (equipment?) that have contingently emerged. Emergence, that is, is best grasped through inquiries which demonstrate not the necessity of that which emerges but inquiries which grasp both the contingency of the emergent and the particular contingent forms emerging as complex assemblages.

One way of inquiring into emergence in this register of contingency is by way of a form of inquiry which conceptualizes the problematizations and reconstructions (colloq., the problems and solutions) which together enable the temporal-historical emergence of practices (complexes? singularities? sites? hybrids? assemblages? objects? x?).

According to this form of inquiry (which could be genealogical, anthropological, or otherwise in its general orientation), complexes of practices are grasped as emergent responses to problems. (This emergence is best grasped as spiral rather than linear in nature: problems give rise to solutions which in turn fuel larger problems which in turn motivate larger solutions, and so on: complexes emerge in the form of reciprocally-developing structures of problematization and reconstruction.)

One Response

  1. The ARC group is part west coast, part east coast, part texas, and probably part something else too. Foucault is probably the most common point of reference. After that maybe Deleuze and Dewey??

    I wanted to mention that I have also posted something about these topics (problematization, reconstruction), something also more essay-like, on my own blog here: http://cwkoopman.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/problematization-reconstruction/

    Comments are welcome there. There is less of a specific goal/trajectory determining the conversation on my blog. ARC is an open forum but you are right that the blog was convened for a specific set of purposes.

    I’m very eager to hear thoughts/criticisms other have about emergence.

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