Herculine Barbin dite Alexina B is the story of a young hermaphrodite who lived, studied and taught in nineteenth-century France. Her story, which was. PDF | This article argues that Judith Butler's neglect of biopolitics in her Butler's engagement with Foucault's Herculine Barbin, I suggest a. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Herculine Barbin | This chapter explains the historical notion of the self in relation to Herculine Barbin's autobiographic text.
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With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of her. Michel Foucault – “Introduction” to Herculine Barbin (New York: Pantheon, ), vii – xvii. INTRODUCTION. Do we truly need a true sex? With a persistence. File:Herculine Barbin Llamada Alexina caite.info caite.info (file size: MB, MIME type: application/pdf).
Like Freud, though, he explains his motivation and methodology and affixes this to his results. Daniel Ellen. Harvester Wheatsheaf, , Lawrence D. Not to ask for pity.
Admittedly, the case history is more akin to the dossier than to "conventional" history, which, as Mark Cousins and Athar Hussain point out, handles evidence by the rule of Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. The case history "make[s] a problem intelligible by reconstituting its conditions of existence and its conditions of emergence" but not "origins" and "never produces evidence in the form which satisfies historical canons of proof and demonstration" 3.
For Cousins and Hussain, Foucault's historical accounts -presumably including the dossiers-are case histories in the Freudian tradition like, for example, the Schreber case, based on a memoir and consisting of minimal interpreta- tion , since they, too, do not supply final pronouncements and may "be said to be incomplete and subject to rectifica- tion" 3.
This analogy between Sigmund Freud and Foucault seems, however, a bit careless. Freud did not wholly resist the pursuit of origins; in his well-contextualized etiological speculations, he insisted on the centrality of the story- symptom connection for discovering genetic relationships among phenomena.
Furthermore, as Adam Phillips reminds us, he complained of both the story-like nature of his own case histories and of the lack of insight in regular, psychiatric case histories, which however bore the "serious stamp of science. Oscillating between "scientific" discourse and "storytelling," he feared psychoanalysis being "a science with no examples. A science of the specific. A science of the special case" Freud, it appears, drew a finer line than Foucault between the literary and the scientific, the singular and the redemonstrable, which led to his perplexities about form.
Macmillan, , 3. Adam Phillips, "Making the Case: Chrostowska If, however, I choose to distinguish between dossiers and case histories or case studies-and thus to separate what Foucault himself conflated when glossing the dossier as "a case, an affair, an event"-it is to show them as subsequent stages of the discursive movement of the Foucauldian volonte de savoir will to knowledge.
The dossier, then, represents the process of case-building, document-by- document. It provides raw materials which individually and collectively may be conclusive or approaching conclusion.
Their life as a form of evidence is not part of a conclusion foregone, but of the unpredictable process of drawing one. In this sense, the dossier is like the case file, defined by one archive as a grouping of documents such as correspondence, form records, memoranda, and other records insofar as they relate to the same person, place, or thing.
Both precede the case proper involving any medical or judiciary proceedings as much as they do the "final word. The case is, therefore, what crystallizes through review and synthesis. That Foucault's selection and compilation of the material in the two dossiers disperses them, unsettling its official "case" status, vouches for his commitment to historical analysis.
In contrast to Freud, Foucault renounced the logic of origins and absolute conclusions even as he volunteered tentative ones. Like Freud, though, he explains his motivation and methodology and affixes this to his results. His dossiers aid in dis- establishing the methodologies applied and the interpretive lines taken in the past.
In effect, Foucault remakes the dossier into a medium of historical study. The volume on Herculine Barbin is limited to the reproduction of original reports; second-hand material, be it quotations from the originals or mentions of Barbin in medical literature, have been excluded The table of contents reads: My Memoirs; 2.
The Dossier-comprised of four sub-sections: The third and final part is a work of fiction echoing Barbin's life and written by a German psychiatrist.
In the introduction-one of his two contributions to the book-Foucault states that the two texts, the memoir and the novella, "deserved to be published Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. The reasons for this Gust? In I, Pierre Riviere. The Riviere dossier part 1 consists of six sections: Crime and Arrest; 2.
The Preliminary Investigation; 3. The Memoir; 4. Medico-legal Opinions; 5. The Trial; 6. Prison and Death. At first glance, the tables of contents of the two books overlap, but, upon closer inspection, one realizes that Barbin's dossier does not feature her memoirs.
Why is this? The character of the autobiographical and its utility in the original contexts may give some indication of the reasons. In contradistinction to Riviere, Barbin seems to lack an ulterior motive-though she does concede deceit and betrayal of confidence, revealing not the presumed "innocent blindfold that veiled the truth from her," but an awareness of transgression Herculine Barbin, Riviere, however, seems intent on masking his motives for writing and killing.
His memoir-composed twice, the first time prior to the murders-is taken as a calculated if erratic move toward self-incrimination and capital punishment, thereby becoming a salient document in the case. Its singularity and authenticity, for Foucault, derive from its both justifying and forming part of Riviere's crime.
They can be read as "a strategic move to confound closure" after her death. Foucault and the Play of Memory," Interchange Chrostowska The Barbin memoirs are endowed with an internal chronology registered during the last, most miserable year of her life. The remaining material-the dossier itself-is grouped typologically, so that external chronology is maintained only within each section, being otherwise illegible.
By contrast, Riviere's dossier including his memoir is organized like a biography, with temporal progression rendered by self-explanatory section titles. As such, it represents a principled departure from the "typological method" of dossier-arrangement: Foucault explains: This throws a good deal oflight on the confronta- tion of various types of discourse and the rules and results of this confrontation" xii, emphasis added.
Appendage of the memoirs to the official documents demonstrates the characteristically nineteenth-century liminality a liminality compounded in the two cases by the type of individuals involved of the subject-object of power- knowledge, as perceived by Foucault.
One outcome of the "entry of [human] life into history" was that individual life had now "a dual position That the genres of memoir, autobiography, diary, and private journal emerged on the cusp of this conversion is evident from their continual situation between literature and history, as well as from their membership in the literary class of "personal Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, trans.
Robert Hurley New York: Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: Barbin's text is a sentimental journal written against spectrality and death. Its writer reminisces on onetime freedom, ultimately unconcerned about penality or potential redress the restitution of her nonidentity by belated opinions.
In her dossier proper, the above-mentioned paradigmatic shift seems complete- needless to say, to the exclusion of the autobiographical. As memoirs, the two accounts were not meant as confession of guilt, sheer defense, or matter-of-fact disclosure and confirmation of the justness of accusations. Their nonconformity-veiled, fragmentary, and inconsistent character-lends them a contestatory force missing in most of the accompanying, institutional documents Riviere's text is particularly striking in its moments of incongruous eloquence.
For all their worth, the texts broke institutional conventions.
In Foucault's estimation, "Riviere's own discourse on his act so dominates, or in any case so escapes from every possible handle, that there is nothing to be said about this central point, this crime or act, that is not a step back in relation to it.
We see there nevertheless a phenomenon without equivalent in either the history of crime or discourse: Her discourse, though it did not overwhelm the case, created a reflux. In this way, the memoirs brought to light a subjugated knowledge. By inscribing themselves single- handedly in institutional history, each mediated between the contemporary apparatus dispositif of normalization of the abnormal demarcating the "undisciplined" and the "deviant," as series linked in the disciplinary-punitive Michel Foucault, "I, Pierre Riviere Lysa Hochroth and John Johnston, ed.
Sylvere Lotringer New York: Semiotext e , , Chrostowska network and the particularities of an individual's lived experience. Because of their particular circumstances the time and place of their treatment by medicine and law , as well as for the textual reasons mentioned above, Barbin and Riviere were, by all accounts, "special cases," defying generalization and utilization as representative "examples" in institutional environs. Though, at the time, cases of parricide were fairly common, Riviere's was, in Foucault's words, "a magnificent case: Nevertheless, publishing the two dossiers is meant by Foucault to "furnish an example of existing records that are available for potential analysis," regardless of how "unique" those happen to be-Riviere's in particular, remarkable as it is for its "full documentation, full not only for that period, but even our own" Pierre Riviere, x-xi, ix.
The dossiers are to speak for themselves-their particularizations and generalizations are not to adumbrate the specific. That each presents a special case does not mean that it is still or temporarily impenetrable. That being said, nineteenth-century strategies of control, gained in part through the production of dossiers, arguably find their unbroken continuation in today's institutional and corporate practices.
A critical consciousness of this lineage no doubt spurred the two publications, and it is debatable whether Foucault's approach here is complicit with the ideological dominant. IS Foucault was mindful of the potential consequences of reactivating such "local discursivities": And if we want to protect these only lately liberated fragments are we not in danger of ourselves constructing In and of themselves, the two volumes are not reproduc- tions, however, but recastings of grossly punctured, recondite cases.
Foucault's recuperation and reframing of the constituent documents does not merely repeat the findings, and losses, of prior observation. His offering can even be construed as literary: Foucault understood the Riviere memoir to be functionally "literary" before his encounter with it.
Indeed, the book on Riviere was to "grasp the movement, the little process, by which a type of nonliterary discourse, neglected, forgotten as soon as it was made, enters the literary field" and how it is modified by its new guise. Then it becomes literature, but still as an archive Foucault's Colin Gordon Brighton: Harvester, , Lee Quinby Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P , 6. Timothy J.
Armstrong Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf, , Phillips, Chrostowska handling of the material, however, arises from a specially devised strategy. Without reencasing the texts in updated specialized discourse seeking true resolution, Foucault displays the "designs" once directed at them: And yet, it cannot simply be described as a single battle; for several separate combats were being fought out at the same time and intersected each other The appeal of cases like Barbin's and Riviere's, both monstrous and enigmatic in their own way, was that they perplexed the documentary discourse of legibility and know ability, exposing its inadequacy to the subject matter and its failure to reveal a unified, humanistic subject: The two books devoted to them try to salvage the complexity of the subjects' speech, even ifthis occasional self-scrutinizing speech is somewhat modeled on without being able to usurp the medical, the juridical, the pedagogical, the specialist in normalcy.
The individuals in question became subjected and subjected themselves to external examination physical, psychiatric, interrogational, postmortem and its inter- nalized version self-examination of, respectively, sexual history and the prehistory of transgression.
The autobio- graphical statements of each indirectly take up issues commonly raised by medico-legal discourse, fill in some lacunae, and in that sense appear to complement it. What they end up doing, however, is obscuring their speakers- while claiming to unmask them-and undermining expertise-while inviting it. Riviere is far from the stock carceral candidate described by Foucault in Discipline and Punish.
The cacophony of competing discourses was to resolve itself in the truth about him-or put to death-so that he could be put away-but, though the medical side is said to have won, it fell short of achieving this objective. Foucault's point in presenting Riviere's dossier was that its "facts" proved frustratingly inconclusive.
Riviere slaughtered-that much is known; the crucial rest is Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
More than merely challenged, the cases foiled the experts. Offering them to his contemporaries was Foucault's way of defying twentieth-century psychiatry: Are you better prepared to discuss it than your 19th century colleagues?
He was, nevertheless, judged according to those values, which accounts for much of the ethical controversy surrounding the case; his sentencing attended the integration of psychiatry into medical jurisprudence. Barbin, by comparison, was less sensational, "hardly even scandalous" Herculine Barbin, xvii. Due perhaps to the sensitivity of the situation and the scene affected by it a convent and a school run by nuns , "[n]either Alexina's case nor her memoirs seem to have aroused much interest at the time" Herculine Barbin, xiv.
Caught in the network of power-knowledge, both of Foucault's historical "cases" were exceptions used in the support or justification of competing positions, categories, themes.
Through the two dossiers, Foucault aimed to address the cases of two specific individuals as precisely such cases in point. At the same time, he exemplified his own historical ideas and the application of his method.
The resulting historical studies outline what remains after the traditional histories were composed , the conservation of which is ethically grounded.
But the compulsion, on Foucault's part, to share these nonillustrative, indefinite remains of the past also sprung from his aesthetic response "It was simply the beauty of Riviere's memoir. The utter astonishment it produced in us was the starting point In Foucault's hands, the dossier became an aesthetic and ethical means of unraveling what was once the case.
As such, it was an alternative avenue for de-composing history while studying the past. Foucault, "I, Pierre Riviere Chrostowska Indeed, Foucault's own recourse to the dossier form, along with the concessions of authorial and broadly discursive control that this implied, became vital to the incremental success of genealogical undertakings. Judging by his own statements, Foucault found himself caught in the double bind of power-knowledge: Foucault's problem was, then, the tension, negotiation, and fundamental irreconcilability, in all knowledge and all power, between the representative general, systematized, abstract, significant, willed, visible, redemonstrable and the singular particular, untheorized, concrete, insignificant, accidental, mute, archival.
He feared his critiques coming across as too casual superficial, incoherent, disorganized, ineffective , though this casualness may in fact be their most valuable trait-yielding the irregular, the eclectic, the informal, the ready-for-use, and encouraging the "amazing efficacy of discontinuous, particular and local criticism. His scrupulous resistance to repetition, to straightforward causality, was counterbalanced by his embrace of the "event," the casus of many causes, and shaped the framework of his historical endeavors.
Excluded from his methodology, the casual, diffuse, disconnected, and particular states of affairs returned both to haunt and to reinforce Foucault's method.
In evaluating his contribution in the two dossiers, it is important to view it in the context of the goals set by him for genealogy and to focus not on what these texts prevent but, rather, on what they enable.
By forgoing-as well as preempting-unitary, totalizing narrative or analysis along with the closure it delivers, they elicit meaningful conclu- sions on a case-specific basis. Events as such consisted, for Foucault, in their singular- ity. Perhaps out of a sense of obligation to acknowledge this Foucault, ''Two Lectures," Speaking of the rupture that marked the transition from one age to another, he wrote: This scepticism bespeaks inter- minable suspension in one's historical present: Still, it is asserted.
Given the irreducible ontological status of events alone, assembling archival documents in dossiers seems a most apposite historical method.
The historical dossier presupposes its own inadequacy to the event, which is always greater than the sum of its the dossier's parts. It is a form of commemoration of the past, a step up from silence. Granted, Foucault knew how to make virtue of necessity. He theorized eventalization, an analytic mode making visible a singularity at places where there is a temptation to invoke a historical constant, an immediate anthropological trait, or an obviousness which imposes itself uniformly on all.
To show that things "weren't as necessary as all that" A breach of self-evidence, of those self-evidences on which our know ledges, acquiescences and practices rest: This procedure of causal multiplication means analyzing an event according to the multiple processes which constitute it As a way of lightening the weight of causality, "eventalization" thus works by constructing around the singular event analysed as process a "polygon" or rather a "polyhedron" of intelligibility, the number of whose faces is not given in advance and can never properly be taken as finite.
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