Post-Foucauldian Discourse and Dispositif Analysis in the Post-Socialist Field of Research: Methodological Remarks
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Post-Foucauldian discourse and dispositif analysis, a methodological approach inspired by the work of Michel Foucault and developed in Western Europe, over the last decade has gained an increasing amount of attention from Eastern European researchers. Yet, this interest has not been accompanied by sufficient reflection on the post-Foucauldian perspective’s adequacy for studying power, governance, and subjectification in post-socialist societies. In particular, there is little criticism that would take into account the current discussion on Foucault’s ambivalent attitude towards neoliberalism. The goal of this article is to examine this line of criticism of Foucault’s late works and to point to its importance for dispositif analysis carried out in Eastern and Central European societies (e.g., Poland) in comparison to analyses carried out in Western Europe (e.g., Germany). I propose a number of methodological recommendations that aim at adapting post-Foucauldian research instruments to facilitate analyzing power relations in the post-socialist context; these include: an interdisciplinary combination of discourse analysis and an analysis of macroeconomic and macrosocial factors; an analysis of the practices of normalization in post-socialist societies with reference to the Center-Periphery relationship; introducing elements of semiology, anthropology of the contemporary and cultural identity analysis to dispositif analysis.