“For Every Two Steps Forward, it Often Feels like we Take One Step Back”: Foucauldian Historiography and the Current Political Moment
In Discipline and Punish, Foucault argues that genealogical analysis reveals systems of thought to be the result of unpredictable historical turns and not the consequence of fixed trends, offering an opening to reimagine the current moment. As each stage of Foucault’s historiography builds upon the previous, culminating in the deconstruction of a power structure-like narrative, this chapter employs several texts in a structured close reading of the current moment. This chapter asserts that narrative is the episteme of the current moment, and Foucault’s various stages of historiography aid in explaining the implications of that. Using Foucauldian historiography, this chapter dissects popular conceptions of a cohesive historical narrative of liberal advancement and linear progress. A genealogy, or a “history of the present”, breaks down linearity by rejecting history’s traditional practice of temporal compartmentalization, the process of segmenting that helps to draw a line.