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Tocqueville, Foucault, French Studies


Green College Lectures Green College, University of British Columbia


1. France - Study and teaching. 2. France - Historiography. 3. Literature and history. 4. History - Methodology. 5. Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1805-1859. Ancien regime et la revolution. 6. Foucault, Michel. Folie et deraison. I. Title. II. Series.

In this study Dominick LaCapra addresses the ongoing concern with the application of theory - namely that of literary studies and linguistics - to contemporary historical research and analysis. History and Reading is an attempt to address the concerns of scholars who either resist theoretical discussions or disavow the use of interdisciplinary study.

LaCapra begins with an extensive discussion of the problem of reading and interpretation as it relates to the understanding of history. The focus then moves to two classic texts that serve as case studies: Alexis de Tocqueville's Old Regime and the French Revolution and Michel Foucault's Folie et deraison: Histoire de la folie a I'dge classique (partially translated into English as Madness and Civilization). In the final chapter, LaCapra deals with the problem of rethinking and reconfiguring French studies, suggesting how this discipline could itself profit from the theoretical innovations for which it has been so important a conduit in the last few decades.

LaCapra offers sensitive readings of Tocqueville and Foucault, authors who present vastly different narrative strategies and modes of analysis. Looking at these and other theorists whose work addresses the writing and understanding of history, he considers how their distinctive textual practices have transformed standard modes of interpretation and analysis.

A distinguished and widely respected historian, LaCapra offers a sophisticated consideration of how to combine textual analysis with traditional historical practices, and shows how this practice can be brought to bear on French studies and help to shape its future directions.

Dominick Lacapra is Professor of History, the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies, Associate Director of the School of Criticism and Theory, and Director of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.

A version of Chapter 1 was published in The American Historical Reinew 100 (1995), 799-828.


Introduction 3
1 History, Reading, and Critical Theory 21
2 Rereading Tocqueville's Old Regime 73
3 Rereading Foucault's 'History of Madness' 123
4 Reconfiguring French Studies 169
Index 227



My goals in this book are both broad and restricted - my subject is the relationship between history and reading, particularly with respect to the area of French studies, but I attempt to exemplify this relationship in two limited case studies. In the chapters focusing on Alexis de Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the French Revolution1 and Michel Foucault's 'History of Madness' (Folie et deraison: Histoire de la folie a I'age classique) I hope to realize at least some of the ambitions of the initial and concluding theoretical or programmatic chapters, but they do not answer all of the challenges raised.3 The purpose of the first and final chapters is to explore certain possibilities

1 Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution, trans. Stuart Gilbert (1858; New York, 1955). The French edition is L'Ancient Regime et la revolution, intro. Georges Lefebvre (Paris, 1952-3).
2 Michel Foucault, Folio el deraison; Histoire de le folie a l'age classique {Paris, 1961). Partial translation (based on Foucault's abridged edition) by Richard Howard as Madness and Civilization (New York, 1965).
3 The reader might also be interested in consulting my History and Memory after Auschwili (Ithaca and London, 1998), especially chaps. 3 ('Rereading Camus's The Fall after Auschwitz and with Algeria') and 4 ('Lanzmann's Shoah: "Here There Is No Why"').

and difficulties in the largest of senses, and I hope the reader will find them thought-provoking without seeking a perfect 'fit' between their arguments and the case studies. Indeed, especially in the final chapter, my explicit intention is to have my reach extend beyond my grasp in order to indicate my sense of French studies as a crucial area in which the problem of history and reading is at issue, especially with respect to the interaction between the fields of history and literary studies. The first and last chapters may also provide a basis for both framing and constructively criticizing the two case studies by indicating the ways in which the reading of texts I undertake must be expanded and transformed if reading is to become a crucial component of newer forms of historical and cultural inquiry.

In the first chapter I delineate five modes of reading that may be variously combined in the works of different figures. My two case studies focus on texts of authors who interweave various reading practices in ways that may achieve a significant degree of distinctiveness on the general level of modes of interpretation and analysis. To some significant extent, moreover, they may be seen as engaging in the kind of reconstruction of and dialogic exchange with the phenomena of the past that I delineate and defend in the first chapter - what Foucault theorized as genealogical analysis stimulated by, or at least having a bearing on, problems of the present with an eye to future possibilities. My own approach to Tocqueville and Foucault attempts to identify the virtues and limitations of two specific texts within the larger context of their authors' thought as a whole.

Both Tocqueville's and Foucault's work contains much of value. Through largely sympathetic, although at times rigorous, criticism, a dialogic exchange between the perspectives they elaborated may be generated - an exchange

that will not result in a simple affirmation of one of the two perspectives and that may even reveal essential tensions. A principal incentive for discussing Tocqueville and Foucault between the covers of the same book is my belief that scholars working in the traditions of one of these important figures rarely read either the works of or commentary on the other. Such an exchange would be mutually beneficial and one of my goals is to initiate it, in good part because it might well lead to a re-examination of certain assumptions. To put it bluntly, those interested in Tocqueville often share his liberal assumptions, which are not subjected to critical scrutiny. They also tend to focus on the mainstream institutions, social formations, and cultural tendencies that Tocqueville addressed: the state, the family, education, the workplace, classes, and bureaucracy, as well as representative or prevalent ideas, mores, and mentalities. Those working on Foucault may similarly share his assumptions (although perhaps to a lesser extent than those working in Tocqueville's liberal tradition), and they may equally fail to approach his assumptions and important concepts with a sufficiently critical eye. Moreover, scholars working on or with Foucault tend to focus on more diffuse, cross-disciplinary, and marginal (or marginalized) groups or phenomena: the mad, sexuality, disciplinarity, the body, and homosexuality. They tend not to have Tocqueville as a reference point.4 Those relating to

4 See, for example, the important work of Judith Butler, notably Gender 'trouble Femim'.m and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London, 1990), Bodies That Maller On the Discursive limits of 'Sex' (New York and London, 1993), and The Psychic Life of Power Theories in Subjection (Stanford, Ca , 1997) Two other important figures working in a post-structural frame of reference, for which Foucault is at least pertinent, are Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe They develop their concept of radical democracy with little reference to Tocqueville, even though he might be significant for revealing the limits of populism and the importance of a liberal admixture even in radical democracy, notably

Tocqueville or, more generally, to the liberal tradition to which he contributed, rarely devote sustained attention to the difficult and experimental thought of someone like Foucault; to the extent that they do, it may well be only (or at least primarily) to warn of its dangers, bemoan its consequences, or question its acuity.5 This contrast may be somewhat overdrawn, but it serves heuristically to under-

in terms of constitutionalism and minority rights. See esp. Laclau and Mouffe's Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London, 1985). 5 See, for example, Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism, trans. Mary H.S. Cattani (1985; Amherst, Mass., 1990), which may well be the most important critique of Foucault and other post-structural figures that is both philosophical in the fundamental nature of its arguments and situated within a broadly Tocquevillian tradition. The French title is more telling than its English translation: l.a I'ensee 6S. '68 thinking' implies that, with respect to the political events of 1968 in France, '68 philosophy is part of a meaningful whole whose importance it illuminates while being illuminated by it' (62) - a circular, hermeneutic (or perhaps symptomatic [xix]) relation between context and thought or text whose very circularity Ferry and Renaut criticize when Foucault applies it in his analysis of Descartes (86). In their understanding, 1968 is the latest incarnation of the revolutionary tradition in all its sterile, misguided agitation that so preoccupied - and engendered anxiety in - Tocqueville. Foucault (along with Derrida) is a prime instigator and vehicle of '68 thinking, and 'The History of Madness' is seen as 'the inaugural work of '68 philosophy' (81). Ferry and Renaut find Foucault's thought incoherently divided between 'a Nietzschean / Heideggerain critique of reason in the name of "unreason," if not in fact irrationality, and a [Marxist] critique of bourgeois rationality in the name of another rationality, if only a potential one' (79) - despite Foucault's explicit attempts to distance himself from Marx. Ferry and Renaut attempt to demonstrate the dubiousness of extreme antihumanism and an all-or-nothing logic, which they usefully counter with a postmetaphysical humanism and a modified conception of autonomy. But their own humanism remains exclusively anthropocentric and is founded on invidious distinctions vis-d-vis other beings, and they are able to see antihumanism's presumed critique of the 'catastrophic effects' of humanism only in terms of serving 'man's' interests ('for whom if not for man?' they ask rhetorically [xxv]). Moreover, despite their pre-emptive efforts to avoid being called 'simplistic' (229), their argument does at times oversimplify issues and is close to a dismissive or debunking polemic. For example, it is hyperbolic and open to question to claim that

score the interest of discussing Tocqueville and Foucault together and to initiate both comparisons and modes of possible interaction between the forms of inquiry that they undertook and for which they have become icons.

Both Tocqueville and Foucault have been particularly important, in France and elsewhere, as what Foucault terms 'initiators of discursive practices.' We refer to 'Foucauldian' analyses of problems, and the conversion of a proper name into an adjective signals the fact that someone has initiated a discursive practice or provided a way of analysing and conceptualizing issues. 'Tocquevillian' analysis is less common, although this denomination does occur. But Tocqueville's texts have given rise to various,

'The History of Madness' is 'the inaugural work of  '68 philosophy' Moreover, it is not clear why a Marxist critique, which appears at best as a sub-theme in "The History of Madness' and, if anything, is not sufficiently sustained throughout Foucault's works, may not reinforce a Heideggerian / Nietzschean critique insofar as the latter cannot be reduced to a simple opposition between reason and '"unreason," if not in fact irrationality.' The model for Ferry and Renaut's approach to the role of intellectuals in France was perhaps set by Tocqueville in The. Old lieffime (which I discuss later); its more recent avatar is Raymond Aron's spirited Opium a/the Inlellfcluals, trans. Terence Kilmartin (Garden City, N.Y, 1957). For an approach that may be instructively contrasted with that of Ferry and Renaut, see Mark Poster, Existential Marxism in Postwar France (Princeton, N.J., 1975) and Cultural History and 1'ustmodernity (New York, 1997). The latter book includes a discussion of both Foucault and Francois Furct's use of Tocqueville in interpreting the French Revolution. For political and social theorists who have primarily negative or very mixed responses to Foucault but who raise issues worthy of consideration, I would make special mention of Nancy Fraser, Michael Walzer, Charles Taylor, and Jiirgen Habermas. See Fraser, Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse and Gender in C.ontemporary Social Theory (Minneapolis, Minn., 1989), Walzer, 'The Politics ofMichel Foucault,' and Taylor, •Foucault on Freedom and Truth,' in David Couzens Hoy, ed., Foucaull: A Critical Header (New York, 1986). 51-68, and 69-102. Habermas also has an essay in this collection ('Taking Aim at the Heart of the Present,' 103-8). But see esp. his /'hilosophical Discourse of Modernity (Cambridge, Mass., 1987), chaps. 9 and 10.

more or less distinctive forms of political, social, and cultural analysis, for example, in the work of such important scholars as Louis Hartz, Raymond Aron, and Francois Furet.6 A close analysis of key texts of Foucault and Toc-queville that is sensitive to the broader dimensions of their work and its impact or later reinscriptions should prove rewarding. Tocqueville has recently become a reference point for neoliberals or liberal-neoconservatives (such as Mark Lilla in the United States or Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut in France) who - in a kind of generational Oedipal revolt involving an intellectual return to the perspectives of less fashionable fathers (such as Aron) or even great-grandfathers (such as Tocqueville) - would like to counteract if not eliminate the recent and pervasive influence of Foucault and other figures labelled 'post-structuralist.' Despite the valuable attempt to question

6 See Louis Hartz, The. lAbrral Tradition in America: An Interfirelation of American Political Thought (1955; New York, 1983); Raymond Aron, Main Currents of Sodohigical Thought, 2 vols. (1967; Garden City, N.Y, 1968-70); and Francois Furet, Interfireting the French Revolution, trans. Elborg Forster (1978; Cambridge, 1981). See also Marcel Gauchet and Gladys Swain, l.a Pratique de t'fipril humain: I.'Institution asilaire el la revolution democratiaue (Paris, 1980), for an attempt to criticize Foucault's history of madness on Tocquevillian grounds. Gauchet and Swain argue that the modern treatment of the mad is an effect not of exclusion but of inclusion relating to democratization and the dejun equality of conditions (in contrast to medieval hierarchy, which allowed familiarity because of the assumption of the radical otherness of the mad with whom one could not communicate). One may question some of their readings of Foucault (for example, they appear to believe that Foucault simply dichotomizes between exclusion and inclusion or integration), and their argument consists largely of counter-claims made in a manner that seems to render adjudication between them and Foucault's ideas impossible. In French Philosophy of the Sixties, Ferry and Renault take their argument as quite flatly refuting Foucault (90-7), but Gauchat and Swain make use of Foucault's later views in 'refuting' his history of madness. For example, they see the asylum as a panoptic Utopia that employed a regimen of discipline and internalization in attempting to bring the mad to reason.

extreme antihumanism and to rethink the liberal tradition, this recourse to Tocqueville at times tends to obscure his more radical analytic endeavours and either to resist theory or to flatten it in order to make it accord with liberal-conservative or neoconservative inclinations. One goal of my discussion of Tocqueville is to reveal the tensions in his own thought that make evident the limitations of this recent turn.7

The idea of a Foucauldian analysis or 'reading' applies, I think, primarily to approaches derived from Foucault's later studies, notably Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison.6 In the work of so-called new historicists, particularly those for a time gathered around the journal Representations, this approach has involved postulating a prevalent if not dominant sociocultural or political discourse or discursive practice (for example, panoptic discourse) and tracing the more or less complex, primarily 'symptomatic' ways in which artifacts, particularly those of 'high' culture,

7 Ferry and Renaut's French Philosophy of the Sixties is intentionally more limited than Tocqueville's analysis of the old regime in that, except for a chapter in which they discuss on a theoretical level the interpretations of May '68 offered by others (indicating a preference for Raymond Aron's La Revolution introuvable {The Elusive Revolution: Anatomy of a Student Revolt [1968; New York, 1969]), they focus predominantly on thought and intellectuals. Their understanding of larger cultural forces is for the most part restricted to the role of individualism in Tocqueville's sense of withdrawal from the political sphere, a turn to private life, apathy, hedonism, and even narcissism - which they both see as linking '68 to the eighties and contrast with the conception of the autonomous subject they defend. In Tocqueville, as we shall see, there is at least some basis within the argument of The Old Regime for criticizing the tendency to scapegoat intellectuals, for, despite the economic limitations of his analysis, Tocqueville goes far in revealing the social, political, and cultural problems that helped create instability and revolutionary agitation in France.
8 Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (Paris, 1975); trans. by Alan Sheridan as Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York, 1978).

have recycled, reinforced, or 'policed' it.9 The results have been impressive, but the risk incurred is a levelling or homogenizing understanding both of discourse and of the relations of artifacts (notably literary texts) to it. What tends to be eliminated in this approach are the more critical and transformative dimensions of the interactions both within discourse and in the relation of artifacts to prevalent or dominant sociocultural or political discourses and practices.11 Foucault's understanding of discursive practice and of the relations of artifacts to it tends, however allusively, to be somewhat more intricate and open to various possibilities in his history of madness, and this is one reason for a rereading of it. Indeed, his study of mad-

9 See, for example, DA. Miller, The Novel and the Police (Berkeley, 1988). In its very inclusions and exclusions, the reader edited by Paul Rabinow is a good indication of the aspects of Foucault's work that were most important for new historicists, especially the Jiefmsentations group at Berkeley. See 7'heFoucault Reader (New York, 1984).
10 In an interview (first published in 1986) Foucault was asked the question: 'What place, what status, have literary works in your research?' He answered: 'In Histoire de hi folie. and Les Mots el les chases, I merely indicated them, pointed them out in passing. 1 was the kind of stroller who says: "Well, when you see that, you cannot but talk about Lc Neveu de liameau." But I accorded them no role in the actual economy of the process.' Referring to the next phase of his work, he adds: 'I moved from the expectative (pointing literature out when I happened to encounter it, without indicating its relations with the rest) to a frankly negative position, trying to bring out positively all the nonliterary or parallel discourses that were actually produced at a given period, excluding literature itself. In Surveiller el fmnirl refer only to bad literature ...' The Functions of Literature,' in Michel Foucault, Politics, Philosa/fhy,- Culture: Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984, ed. with an intro. by Lawrence D. Kriteman (New York and London, 1988), 307-8.
11 For an elaboration and defence of this view, see my History, Politics, and the Novel (Ithaca and London, 1987) and 'Ideology and Critique in Dickens's Bleak House,' Refnesentalions 6 (1984), 116-23 (reprinted in Jeremy Tam-bling, ed., Bleak House: Contemporary Critical Essays (New York, 1998), 128-38).

ness radically tests and contests the assumptions of both Tocquevillian liberalism and conventional historiography. Even if we disagree with certain dimensions of its argument or style, L'Histoire de la folie enables us to recognize and question those assumptions.

I would, in an introductory fashion, like to make explicit certain comparisons between Tocqueville and Foucault that are at times left implicit in the body of the text. I shall begin with general similarities which, although worth noting, should not be the only level of inquiry, as they would then obscure specific problems in the critical analysis and reading of their work. Still, both are concerned in different ways with the relations among customs, institutions, practices, affect, and thought. Tocqueville employs an older vocabulary, invoking such terms as 'mores,' 'feelings,' and 'ideas.' Yet he also engages in what Foucault discusses in terms of the genealogy of practices and discourse analysis. Tocqueville even comments that 'a study of the connection between the history of language and history proper would certainly be revealing.' One of his most famous instances is his tracing of the history of the term ' gentilhomme' in France in contrast to that of 'gentleman' in the English language. In England, the connotation of the term 'steadily widened ... as the classes draw nearer to each other and intermingle. In each successive century we find it being applied to men a little lower in the social scale. Next, with the English, it crosses to America. And now in America it is applicable to all male citizens, indiscriminately. Thus its history is the history of democracy itself.' In France, by contrast, 'there has been no question of enlarging the application of the word gentilhomme, which as a matter of fact has, since the Revolution, dropped out of common use. This is because it has always been employed to designate the members of

a caste - a caste that has never ceased to exist in France and is still as exclusive as it was when the term was coined many centuries ago.'12

Genealogical history in both Tocqueville and Foucault begins with an important if not burning issue in the present and traces it back to its often concealed or repressed roots in the past. The purpose of such inquiry is not purely antiquarian. History for both men involves an at times intense involvement or implication of the historian in the object studied and an active exchange between the present and the past in ways that may be useful in shaping the future. In both Toqueville and Foucault, moreover, there is at least an implicit understanding of historical time in terms of displacement rather than simple continuity or discontinuity. Tocqueville is known for the thesis concerning the continuity of centralization through the French Revolution, in contrast to the belief that the Revolution constituted a break with the past and that it created a new relation between state, bureaucracy, and society. Although Foucault does not take the French Revolution as a crucial reference point, when he does refer to it, it is clear that in many basic ways it was not a turning point for him; indeed, the processes with which Foucault is concerned (such as the treatment of the mad) seem to continue or are even exacerbated through the Revolution. For both Tocqueville and Foucault, the Revolution seems to have worsened conditions rather than improved them, whether in terms of political turbulence that achieved little structural change or in terms of the treatment of marginalized groups whose 'liberation' is at best deceptive. Underlying continuity in both Tocqueville and Foucault is the role of a more crucial

12 The Old Regime find the Revolution, 83-4.

process of displacement - or repetition with more or less significant and disruptive (or traumatic) change. Practices, institutions, and processes do not simply continue through inertia or become discontinued through a pure separation from the past; they are reproduced or regenerated in varying ways. And their reproduction or (more or less compulsive) repetition may be masked or occluded by a consciousness or experience of change.

One key area of social and cultural life in which displacement is crucial involves secularization, or the movement from the religious to the secular. Tocqueville will indicate that, while the Revolution was manifestly antireli-gious in delimited ways, notably in its attack on the church as a social and political power, it also displaced religion in its secular ideology and practices - its cult of reason, its redoing of the calendar, its collective effervescence and at times fanatical elan, and its cycle of holidays and feasts. Despite his explicit emphasis on epistemologi-cal breaks, we shall also find important instances of displacement in Foucault's history of madness. While Foucault stood at a critical distance from psychoanalysis (as he understood it or perhaps especially as it had been institutionalized) and despite his famous critique of the so-called repressive hypothesis in the History of Sexuality13 he also worked with a notion of repression and the return of the repressed. Indeed, it is most fruitful to see him as criticizing a delimited, overgeneralized concept of repression based on a narrowly negative notion of power – and especially the Utopian idea that the end of sexual repression would bring, or at least be accompanied by, full bodily and political liberation. But repression and the

13 The History of Sexuality, Volume]. An Introduction (1976; New York, 1978).

return of the repressed in disguised and often distorted form are crucial to Foucault's own analyses. For example, the forces of unreason in the modern period do not simply disappear; they are for him driven underground and tend to return in often disguised, uncontrolled, and radically disconcerting ways.

The importance of religion was recognized by both Tocqueville and Foucault. Religion had manifest personal and political importance for Tocqueville, and one of the things he feared most was its secular displacement in a revolutionary political ideology that promised redemption or salvation, typically through quasi-sacrificial, regenerative violence. The 'death of God' is an often-neglected aspect of Foucault's indebtedness to Nietzsche, and the role of religion and its displacements are extremely significant factors in his history of madness. One of the dynamics of his thought in general may be his Nietzschean attempt to think through the death of God and to arrive at an atheism that sees divinity not in terms of loss or death but in terms of absence and the affirmative need to come to terms with that absence in personal and social life.14

14 Here one may also note that the notion of the death (or absence) of man is related to the death of God insofar as man or humanity is defined as a function of divinity, either as the creation of God in a religious context or as the heir to God's powers in a secularized one. One crucial form of the displacement of divine powers onto humans is radical constructivism, a mode of secular creationism in which humans are believed to confer all meaning and value on the world. A related form is that which justifies anything done to others if it somehow furthers human interests, for example, experimentation on other animals or the destruction of natural habitats. Despite the extreme and apocalyptic tones in which it appears in Foucault's work - for example, in Mots el les chases (1966; The Order of Things: An Archaelogy of the. Human Sciences [New York, 1971]) - the notion of the death of man need not entail the end of all humanism or a carte-blanche denial of human rights but rather the critique of the type of anthropocentrism that depends on secularized, displaced religious motifs and centres everything on

The limited but significant similarities between Tocqueville and Foucault should not obscure their differences, many of which will be touched on in this study. One significant difference has already been identified: Toc-queville's stress in his principal texts was on mainstream institutions, movements, and practices while Foucault focused on the marginal or marginalized. Increased interaction between their principal concerns is of obvious value. Moreover, Tocqueville was a political liberal whereas Foucault was radical in ways often difficult to classify in standard political terms. Tocqueville presents us with the problem of how to rethink liberalism in more differentiated terms -we might want to retain certain aspects of the liberal tradition (notably in terms of constitutionalism, minority rights, and human rights in relation to the demands of solidarity, social justice, and the claims of other beings) but we may equally wish to scrutinize other aspects more critically than Tocqueville or his followers are prone to do (notably economic liberalism in terms of a capitalistic, market economy). The difficulty in classifying Foucault's radicalism bears in part on stylistic and rhetorical issues that I shall take up in Chapter 3 - ways in which his thought is radically transgressive or disruptive. But it is also related to Foucault's generalization of the political in terms of an at times indiscriminate conception of 'positive'

humans. In this respect, human rights, while not denied, would be limited in different contexts by the need to recognize and account for the claims of other species or beings, and humans would be situated in a larger frame of reference allowing for ecological considerations. In Foucault and others, a concern for transforming the very location and self-understanding of humans in the world owes much to Heidegger, but it need not simply replicate all of Heidegger's views (or stylistic manoeuvres), for example, an at times incantatory prose style or the questionable idea that animals do not have a world.

or 'productive' power. This conception involved a provocative breakdown of the distinction between the political, the social, and the bodily. For example, it cast critical light on the politics - particularly the micropractices - of everyday life and the more or less subtle and imperceptible ways in which modes of oppression and subjection operated. Its drawback was the tendency to downplay the importance of the state (or other determinate centres of power) and to obscure the difference as well as the relation between power and authority or hegemony. Foucault's discourse either bracketed assumptions and distinctions prominent in the liberal tradition (including that between power and audiority, including issues of legitimacy) or was insistently delegitimating in ignoring them, and it was forceful in bringing into prominence the ways in which marginalization, subjection, and abjection could take place even in the seemingly most liberal or enlightened policies and practices. This basic dimension of Foucault's work should not be forgotten But it tended to obscure both the actual and the desirable relations between power and normative legitimation that are necessary for de facto and de jure relations involving authority and hegemony (however democratic). Foucault and those following his lead are often prone to confuse normalization - that is, misleadingly taking the statistical average or the mainstream (for example, hetero-sexuality) as normative - and normativity in general. Hence the defensible critique of normalization may eventuate in a tendency to obscure or foreclose the problem of alternative normativities as they relate to desirable structural change in society, the polity, and culture - normativities that would not abjectify the 'mad' or alternative sexualities but give them a different status and raise normative questions in a different key. Tocqueville and other figures who do not have a prominent place in Foucault

and Foucauldianism (including Emile Durkheim) might play at least a limited role in compensating for deficiencies in Foucault and indicating lines of analysis, critique, and social reconstruction.

The striking stylistic and rhetorical differences between Tocqueville and Foucault in responding to somewhat similar situations also merit comment. Both Tocqueville and Foucault wrote in what they perceived as post-traumatic or crisis-ridden times. For Tocqueville the French Revolution was still a potent and destabilizing force, especially in its after-effects for a paradoxical revolutionary tradition that disrupted political and social life and did not give rise to a stable, liberal democracy. One might almost say that in Tocqueville's view the reality of the Revolution lay in death and devastation during its occurrence and in its belated effects in post-Revolutionary France and Europe. It thus had the classical characteristics of a collective trauma, in which later generations confront the problems of their transferential implication and the need to come to terms with it through compulsive repetition (or acting out), working over, and, in the best of circumstances, working through. In part due to the massive extent of the Revolution's impact, Tocqueville's response, I shall argue, did not fully overcome acting out. He tended to project his anxieties onto the intellectuals of the Enlightenment, who, to some extent, become the scapegoats of his account, and he was able to provide only a relatively cosmetic rhetorical resolution to the tension between his proposed liberal-conservative responses and the severe problems his analysis disclosed both in the old regime and in its post-revolutionary aftermath. I shall also argue that Tocqueville's style is in a sense internally dialogized in terms of 'scientific,' interpretive (especially narrative), and ideological levels of discourse, yet his voice remains

relatively unchanged throughout these levels, attaining only at times a lyrical enthusiasm with respect to his supreme value of liberty. In other words, his voice and style do not register the unworked-through trauma and the attendant socio-political and cultural problems he objectively observes in post-revolutionary France, and he may rhetorically make a premature return to a pleasurable mode of address and a sense of balance in discourse that he has not fully earned with respect to the problems he himself has described and analysed.

It is unclear whether, by the time Foucault writes, the French Revolution has been worked through in French society or whether it has been forgotten or left aside. Francois Furet, among others, tries to retire it, using at times a conceptualization reminiscent of the end-of-ideology approach common in the 1950s, for example in Daniel Bell and, to some extent, Raymond Aron. In any case, the French Revolution is not highly 'cathected' or charged with affect and value in Foucault. Perhaps it has simply been submerged by a series of catastrophes, genocides, and crises in the twentieth century that link the post-traumatic and the postmodern or post-structural.15 Although the Holocaust receives almost no explicit attention from Foucault, there is a sense in which his thought and writing register its effects as well as those of other modern phenomena that have had extremely destabilizing effects in post-war France (notably the Vichy regime and the Algerian war).16 Indeed, there is a sense in which

15 On this theme, see Eric Santner, Stranded OAycrts Mourning, Melancholia, and Film in Postwar German) (Ithaca and London, 1990), as well as my Refrresenhng the Holoraust (Ithaca and London, 1994).
16 For the post-war effects of Vichy, see Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome' His-tor) and Memory in France sin w 1944 (Cambridge, Mass , 1991).

the 'History of Madness' may be read as a displacement of more immediate problems and a commentary on a series of hidden texts. Foucault's style, unlike Tocqueville's, has itself post-traumatic characteristics and the ability to involve the reader in its disorienting sweeps and swerves. I shall discuss Foucault's style and voice in terms of three tendencies or dimensions: 'scientific' (or even positivis-tic), lyrical, and a more undecidable or marginal voice in closest proximity to the voices of unreason. The first two dimensions (as well as the role of narrative) have at least rough analogues in Tocqueville, but the third is radically different from Tocqueville's balanced and anti-extremist approach, especially from his generally poised, unflappable prose style. Here Foucault speaks or writes not so much about or even for the 'mad' (or the voices of unreason) but with them, not only participating in the threat and temptation they pose but internalizing them and allowing his own voice to be split apart by alien or different voices. The question, however, is whether the result is at times a new, riven or 'schizoid' monologism that does not recognize others as distinct others whose voices should be respected, at least in the form of extensive quotation and commentary. The further question bears on the political implication of this paradoxical mode of internal dialogization, bordering at times on monological fragmentation and abyssal or 'sublime' nonsense.

It might be hyperbolic, even within sight of the year 2000, to contend that Tocqueville furnished an exemplary exploration of the possibilities of historical and cultural analysis in the nineteenth century, while Foucault provided a comparable challenge in the twentieth century. But it is undoubtedly the case that Tocqueville and Foucault inquired into and enacted certain crucial dimensions of historical and cultural understanding in

ways that contested neat disciplinary boundaries and, in the process, brought historical understanding into sustained contact with problems often housed in other disciplines, notably political science, literary studies, and philosophy. In these senses, it is not far-fetched to discuss in one book both key texts of these two figures and issues of a broad theoretical or programmatic nature.

I thank Tracie Matysik for her help in preparing the index.
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