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August 10, 2005


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Gardner Campbell

Interesting post. The dichotomy strikes me as reductive, especially because it privileges the politics of resistance, a move that can generate its own set of inquisitions and even, shudder, socialist realism. But then Foucault always struck me as reductive, and disingenuous in his exceptions for what he calls "transdiscursive authors" and "initiators of discursive practices."

I'd also submit this modification of the confessional paradigm: the person confessing is unknown to the priest, perhaps, but the act of confession makes sense only if the individual is known to God. In that respect, the confessional is anything but anonymous or solitary. And while any specific instance of the confessional is singular, emphasizing as it does the ethical agent sub specie aeternitatis, the practice of the faithful community makes a single confession into something much more communal and community-building.

Just one contrarian point of view. Identity both precedes and follows discourse. One interesting writer in this regard is Francis Jacques.

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