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The Light of Michel Foucault’s a Theory of Care of the Self

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During the 1960s the focus of language learning studies was on the individual; that is, the linguists were preoccupied with the notion of how an individual learns or develops his/her language, and approached language learning from a psychological point of view. In 1970s, however, the notion of ‘social man’ was at the center of language learning (Halliday, 1978). The ‘social man’ of 1970s had nothing to do with the ‘social man’ as opposed to ‘individual man’, but the contrast made by the linguists was ‘social’ versus ‘psychophysiological’ (cf.

Labov, 1972a, 1972b; Dresser, 1972; Schmidt, 1973; van Dijk, 1972; Bauman & Scherzer, 1974; Gumperz & Hymes, 1972).

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Then, the 1970s saw a type of discourse and text analysis that was aiming at uncovering the role of language in the formation of power relations in society. In this regard Paul Simpson, convincingly states that: This tradition of analytic enquiry can be traced directly to the work carried out during the 1970s by Roger Fowler and his associates at the University of East Anglia.

Since the publication towards the end of that decade of two volumes outlining the critical linguistic ‘manifesto’ (Fowler et al. 1979; Kress and Hodge 1979), there has been a steady output of research within the tradition. What characterizes this work, first of all, is the way in which it expands the horizons of stylistics by focusing on texts other than those regarded as literary. Media language has received particular scrutiny, although analyses have been conducted on discourse types as diverse as swimming-pool regulations (Fowler and Kress 1979a) and university guidelines on student enrolment (Fowler 1981, pp. 24–45). (1993, p. 4).

Following 1970s trends in text analysis, the linguists in 1990s went so far as to analyze in critical way the media discourses to find the ideologies and worldviews hidden in them. The analysis which has come to be known as CD has constantly described this particular approach to linguistic analysis. The application of CDA in applied linguistics has resulted in development of a different approach which tackles the hidden and manipulative nature of media massage. The incontrovertible power of the media which has something to do with ideological works of language and has consequently resulted in hegemony has motivated inordinate critical studies in many disciplines (e.g., linguistics, semiotics, pragmatics, and discourse studies). this paper sets out to explore the utility of self-care theory in understanding self-neglect. Further theoretical development of both self-care and self-neglect theory and attending core concepts is an important objective.

The language which is used in This thesis on A critical Analysis of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) focuses oni n the Light of Michel Foucault’s aTheory of care of the self (1961), but Fairclough in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis have stated that there are choices in the language of the media which aim at controlling people’s minds and implying some hidden meanings The mainstream research on media discourse in recent years have been conducted within the framework of critical discourse analysis (CDA), which has something to do with such issues as the projection of power through discourse, the instantiation of dominance and inequality in discourse, the ideological underpinning of discourse and discourse affiliation with social change (Fairclough 1989a, 1989b, 1995; Fowler, 1991; Fowler et al., 1979; Hodge and Kress, 1993; van Dijk, 1993).

Kesey relates the story of the clash between the repressive and rebellious wills, respectively, of Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy from the viewpoint of a paranoid schizophrenic named Chief Bromden. With the exception of a fishing excursion led by McMurphy with an accompanying doctor and eleven patients, the entire novel is set in the psychiatric hospital where McMurphy may or may not be feigning insanity to escape the hard labor of a work farm. The patients are classified either as Acutes or Chronics; the former considered curable and whose stay at the hospital is voluntary; while the latter are failed attempts of the hospital’s staff to force its conformity on patients through electroshock therapy and lobotomies. The Acutes have succumbed to incomplete lives wherein the arbitrary whims of an increasingly mechanized and feminized society has emasculated them and rendered them ineffectual. McMurphy invigorates the Acutes and the Chronic Chief with his open, frank heterosexuality, anti-academic, and rebellious approach to life.

This contrasts strongly with Nurse Ratched’s attempts to control the men, inevitably leading to a series of comically rendered showdowns. The novel turns more serious, however, when the men begin to adopt McMurphy’s attitudes, resulting in Nurse Ratched’s escalation of her repressive tactics. Increasingly relying on New Testament portrayals of the Passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Chief relates Ratched’s victory over McMurphy when she has him lobotomized. Her victory is short-lived, however, as McMurphy’s lessons to the men result in many of the Acutes leaving the hospital. Chief suffocates McMurphy and escapes from the hospital, in an ending that is both heroic and ambiguous. The interpretation of the Cuckoo’s Nest investigates how modes of power dehumanize the patients’ individuality with the attempt to create Foucaultian ‘docile’, ‘productive’, ‘normal’ and ‘better’ bodies. The interpretation offers a detailed description of inmate Chief Bromden’s critical point of view of the Combine institution and his understanding of how it suppresses and normalizes every form of individuality. The unstable power relation between the Big Nurse and McMurphy is investigated, where it is argued that the patients and the medical staff are all menials of a totalitarian system that controls and regulates them.

Using Foucault’s aspects on madness and mental illness in his Madness and Civilization, the thesis argues that the patients in Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest are a perfect illustration of Foucault’s ‘Stultifera Navis’. Because the patients are labeled as ‘the other’ and ‘the abnormal’ in society, they are isolated, alienated, dehumanized, normalized and stigmatized within an institution that has the same structures of a totalitarian system.

The central theme of the story is how Chief Bromden becomes strong, self-confident, and sane again. This rescue and transformation succeed because McMurphy treats him as a worthwhile, intelligent, and sane individual. In addition, McMurphy gives him the example of standing up to and occasionally beating the apparently all-powerful Combine.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest should definitely be included in a list of works of high literary merit. It’s message of fighting for individuality and self-expression is portrayed with immense skill. Kesey’s willingness to experiment with the revolutionary style of writing in an altered state of consciousness should be highly regarded. This novel is a symbol of the 1960’s counterculture and should be considered a classic of its time. Not only were its issues important during its own decade, but many are still relevant today.

While the overall plot of Kesey’s novel is, without a doubt, quite enjoyable, it could never stand on its own without the superb and believable cast of characters. Particularly when considering the somewhat psychedelic episodes present throughout the story, a result of the narrator’s literally “foggy” state of mind, it strikes me as important to provide a more in-depth analysis of the protagonists than a simple summary could provide.

Using Foucault’s aspects on madness and mental illness in his Madness and Civilization, the thesis argues that the patients in Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest are a perfect illustration of Foucault’s ‘Stultifera Navis’. As such, the results of this research can be a useful tool at the researchers’ disposal in different fields ranging from literature, linguistics, language teaching, pragmatics, and discourse studies to semiotics, stylistics, and politics, not to mention those who are involved in such field as media studies.

The focus of this study was , Ken Kesey’s altered mental state while he wrote Cuckoo’s Nest is what truly makes it unique. The novel’s message of rebelling against authority was very influential to the counterculture generation of the 1960’s. Kesey and his writing became a key factor in a decade filled with drugs and anti-establishment feelings. This thesis provides a re-evaluation of the concept of mental health care in terms of Foucault’s concept of ‘the care of the self’.

The thesis aims to investigate how ‘otherness’ is treated within two different institutions represented in the novels – the psychiatric ward in Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest and the school in Haddon’s Curious Incident. Using Foucault’s aspects on madness and mental illness in his Madness and Civilization, the thesis argues that the patients in Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest are a perfect illustration of Foucault’s ‘Stultifera Navis’ the novel addresses the issue of women in power and the consequences of rebelling against authority, all concerns of mid-century America. The novel even looks at the nature of fiction and the larger issue of subjective reality.

But the point is that all of these elements have fundamental cultural meanings, regardless of his intentions. They resonate within our minds because they strike the touchstones of our shared understandings. The result is that a seemingly simple fable about a con man in an asylum achieves mythic dimensions and partakes of universal truths that are central to our culture and our vision of mankind.

Critical discourse analysis: van Dijk (1993, p. 283), one of the most referenced and an exponent of CDA, states that in CDA the aim of researchers are ‘foc using on the role of discourse in the (re)production and challenge of dominance.’ He considers Dominance in the area of CDA ‘as the exercise of social power by elites, institutions or groups, that results in social inequality, including political, cultural, class, ethnic, racial and gender inequality.’

Power: as stated in the definition of CDA, power is a key concept in the area of CDA. As stated, ‘dominance is the exercise of social power (van Dijk, 1993, p. 283).’ Fowler (1985, p. 61), defines power as ‘the ability of people and institutions to control the behavior and material lives of the others.’ The power relationships which are exercised, by those who have it over those who lack it, in society is not whatsoever ‘natural and objective’; rather they are constructed in society.

Self-care theory : Self-care theory has a useful role to play in furthering our understanding of self-neglect. Self-care theory is able to explain some aspects of self-neglect but not others, although this may be a reflection of the relatively underdeveloped state of self-care theories or alternatively may reflect a more fundamental limitation in our ability to fully explain human behaviour. Foucault’s texts, arguing that the idea of philosophical practice seen as ‘care of the self’ was the major theme of his final project, a theme intended to carry out not only an important transformation in our understanding of the history of ethics and also of the history of subjectivity, but to inspire an ‘aesthetics of existence’ fitted for our times, a poetics of the self conceived as the only possible resistance to biopolitical normalization.

Cite this The Light of Michel Foucault’s a Theory of Care of the Self

The Light of Michel Foucault’s a Theory of Care of the Self. (2021, Jun 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-light-of-michel-foucaults-a-theory-of-care-of-the-self/

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