Some Foucauldian Categories of Regulated Behavior and Their Norms in the Discourses of Specific Cultures


Behavior incest (among pharaohs) cannibalism (in Towson, MD) homosexual oral sex (among Texas heterosexuals) heterosexual oral sex (among Texas heterosexuals) bare knees (of female Goucher students in 1924 St. Michaels, MD)
Illegal/Legal (Discourse of Law) legal illegal illegal legal illegal
Immoral/Moral (Discourse of Religion) moral immoral immoral immoral immoral
Unwise/Wise (Discourse of Public Opinion) wise unwise unwise wise unwise
Undesirable/Desirable (Discourse of Desire) desirable undesirable undesirable desirable undesirable

        Note that the time and place and persons involved all are essential to the functioning of the discourses of law, religion, public opinion, and erotic desire.  Since, according to New Historicism, there is no ultimate authority for any "totalizing historiographic discourse" outside the play of competing discourses like those above, the generalizations in this table all are subject to deconstruction if we investigate more specifically identifiable discourse communities (e.g., Texas Satanist heterosexuals vs. Texas Christian heterosexuals; Towson residents with sufficient food vs. Towson residents facing starvation).  Goucher's History Department might beg to differ, but they would differ within the discourse of liberal education, which privileges the professoriate's right to determine what is "history" and what is "not-history."  More to the point for English 215, the English Department also determines "what is literature" and "what is not-literature" for its majors, and English 215 is charged with determining "what are critical methods" and "what are not-critical-methods" for them, as well.