- Jun 2016
can easily imagine a culture wherediscourse would circulate without any need for an author. Dis-courses, whatever their status, form, or value, and regardless of ourmanner of handling them, would unfold in a pervasive anonymity.No longer the tiresome repetitions: 'Who is the real author?' 'H
Great epigraph for article on scientific authorship
We can easily imagine a culture where discourse would circulate without any need for an author. Discourses, whatever their status, form, or value, and regardless of our manner of handling them, would unfold in a pervasive anonymity. No longer the tiresome repetitions: 'Who is the real author?' 'Have we proof of his authenticity and originality?' 'What has he revealed of his most profound self in his language?' New questions will be heard: 'What are the modes of existence of this discourse?' 'Where does it come from; how is it circulated; who controls it,' 'What placements are determined for possible subjects?' 'Who can fulfill these diverse functions of the subject?' Behind all these questions we would hear little more than the murmur of indifference: 'What matter who's speaking?'
author-function' is tiedto the legal and institutional systems that circumscribe, determine,and articulate the realm of discourses; it does not operate in auniform manner in all discourses, at all times, and in any givenculture; it is not defined by the spontaneous attribution of a textto its creator, but through a series of precise and complex pro-cedures; it does not refer, purely and simply, to an actual individualinsofar as it simultaneously gives rise to a variety of egos and to aseries of subjective positions that individuals of any class may
Four characteristics of the "author-function":
- "the 'author-function' is tied to the legal and institutional systems that circumscribe, determine,and articulate the realm of discourses;"
- "it does not operate in a uniform manner in all discourses, at all times, and in any given culture";
- "it is not defined by the spontaneous attribution of a text to its creator, but through a series of precise and complex procedures";
- it does not refer, purely and simply, to an actual individual in so far as it simultaneously gives rise to a variety of egos and to aseries of subjective positions that individuals of any class may come to occupy"
ight object that thisphenomenon only applies to novels or poetry, to a context of 'quasi-discourse', but, in fact, all discourse that supports this 'author-function' is characterized by the plurality of egos. In a
There you go: he means that grammar changes in all texts that support the "author-function". Somehow he distinguishes this from simply "poetic texts," but I'm not sure why or how.
ave a different bearing on texts with an author and 23on those without one. In the latter, these 'shifters' refer to a realspeaker and to an actual deictic situation, with certain exceptionssuch as the case of indirect speech in the first person. When dis-course is linked to an author, however, the role of 'shifters' is morecomplex and variable. It is well known that in a novel narrated inthe first person, neither the first person pronoun, the presentindicative tense, nor, for that matter, its signs of localization referdirectly to the %vriter, either to the time when he wrote, or to thespecific act of writing; rather, they stand for a 'second self whosesimilarity to the author is never fixed and undergoes considerablealteration within the course of a single book. It
Grammar has different meaning with fictional author and non-author texts: in the second case (not fiction), the grammar is deictic; in the former, it is literary.
This is a really interesting point, by I think MF is confusing terms a little. the issue has to do with the deictic nature of the text rather than the availability of an author-attribution (unless he means "literary author of the kind I've been discussing as an author-function").
First, they are objects of appropriation; the form of propertythey have become is of a particular type whose legal codificationwas accomplished some years ago. It is important to notice, aswell, that its status as property is historically secondary to thepenal code controlling its appropriation. Speeches and books wereassigned real authors, other than mythical or important religiousfigures, only when the author became subject to punishment andto the extent that his discourse was considered transgressive. Inour culture - undoubtedly in others as well - discourse was notoriginally a thing, a product, or a possession, but an action situatedin a bipolar field of sacred and profane, lawful and unlawful, reli-gious and blasphemous. It was a gesture charged with risks longbefore it became a possession caught in a circuit of property values.But it was at the moment when a system of ownership and strictcopyright rules were established (toward the end of the eighteenthand beginning of the nineteenth century) that the transgressiveproperties always intrinsic to the act of writing became the force-ful imperative of literature. It is as if the author, at the momenthe was accepted into the social order of property which governsour culture, was compensating for this new status by revivingthe older bipolar field of discourse in a systematic practice of trans-gression and by restoring the danger of writing which, on anotherside, had been conferred the benefits of property
Importance of "author" for commerce and control. This is true of scientific writing, but in a slightly different way. The type of thing he is talking about here has to do with Oeuvre.
nsequently, we cansay that in our culture, the name of an author is a variable thataccompanies only certain texts to the exclusion of others: a privateletter may have a signatory, but it does not have an author; acontract can have an underwriter, but not an author; and, similarlyan anonymous poster attached to a wall may have a writer, buthe cannot be an author. In this sense, the function of an author isto characterize the existence, circulation, and operation of certaindiscourses within a society
Very useful statement of where foucault applies in this case: to literary discussion, not advertising, not letters, and so on.
Science would fall into the "not this" category, I suspect.
We can conclude that, unlike a proper name, which moves fromthe interior of a discourse to the real person outside who producedit, the name of the author remains at the contours of texts -separating one from the other, defining their form, and character-izing their mode of existence. It points to the existence of certaingroups of discourse and refers to the status of this discourse withina society and culture. The author's name is not a function of aman's civil status, nor is it fictional; it is situated in the breach,among the discontinuities, which gives rise to new groups of dis-course and their singular mode of existence. C
Again, an "Implied Author" type idea that is completely not relevant to science--although ironically, the H-index tries to make it relevant. In science, the author name is not the function that defines the text; it is the person to whom the credit it to be given rather than a definition of Oeuvre. This is really useful distinction for discussing what is different between the two discourses.
The name of an author poses all the problems related to thecategory of the proper name. (Here, I am referring to the work ofJohn Searle,3 among others.) Obviously not a pure and simplereference, the proper name (and the author's name as well) hasother than indicative functions. It is more than a gesture, a fingerpointed at someone; it is, to a certain extent, the equivalent of adescription. When we say 'Aristotle', we are using a word thatmeans one or a series of definite descriptions of the type: 'theauthor of the Analytics', or 'the founder of ontology', and so forth.Furthermore, a proper name has other functions than that of sig-nification: when we discover that Rimbaud has not written LaChasse spirituelle, we cannot maintain that the meaning of theproper name or this author's name has been altered. The propername and the name of an author oscillate between the poles ofdescription and designation, and, granting that they are linked towhat they name, they are not totally determined either by theirdescriptive or designative functions. Yet - and it is here that thespecific difficulties attending an author's name appear - the linkbetween a proper name and the individual being named and the linkbetween an author's name and that which it names are not iso-morphous and do not function in the same way; and these dif-ferences require clarification.
And, of course, it is an economic and reputational thing as well
What is the purpose of an author's name?
It is obviously insufficient to repeat empty slogans: the authorhas disappeared; God and man died a common death. Rather, weshould re-examine the empty space left by the author's disappear-ance, we should attentively observe, along its gaps and fault lines,its new demarcations, and the reapportionment of this void; weshould await the fluid functions released by this disappearance.In this context we can briefly consider the problems that ari
It is obviously insufficient to repeat empty slogans: the author has disappeared; God and man died a common death. Rather, we should re-examine the empty space left by the author's disappearance, we should attentively observe, along its gaps and fault lines,its new demarcations, and the reapportionment of this void; we should await the fluid functions released by this disappearance.In this context we can briefly consider the problems that arise in the use of an author's name. What is the name of an author? How does it function? Far from offering a solution, I will attempt to indicate some of the difficulties related to these questions.
Great epigraph for an article on scientific authorship. Also relevant, especially the bottom bit.
Another thesis has detained us from taking full measure of the 17author's disappearance. It avoids confronting the specific event thatmakes it possible and, in subtle ways, continues to preserve theexistence of the author. This is the notion of icriture. Strictlyspeaking,.it should allow us not only to circumvent references toan author, but to situate his recent absence. The conception oficriture, as currently employed, is concerned with neither the actof writing nor the indications, as symptoms or signs within a text,of an author's meaning; rather, it stands for a remarkably profoundattempt to elaborate the conditions of any text, both the conditionsof its spatial dispersion and its temporal deployment
écriture is a fasle way of stepping around the problem in literary criticism, because it simply defers the identity of the author, without stopping treating the author as a unit. But it might be a solution to science writing, in that a credit system, for example, doesn't need an author-function to exist.
en now, when we studythe history of a concept, a literary genre, or a branch of philo-sophy, these concerns assume a relatively weak and secondaryposition in relation to the solid and fundamental role of an authorand his works
On extent to which we assume the author is real and solid even if we are doubtful about the nature of the field in which the author is working.
- scientific authorship
- implied author
- literary authorship
- disciplinary difference
- foucault 1979
- booth 1961