Michel Foucault's Theory Of Discourses

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This chapter introduces the methodology and theories used for the research of this thesis. Firstly, some aspects of the methodologies used during the research are mentioned to get a grasp on the direction of this thesis. Secondly, more information about the primary and secondary is provided. Thirdly, the theories are introduced, mainly focusing on Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism and the notion of discourse introduced by Michel Foucault and applied to the museum by Eileen Hooper-Greenhill. Lastly, this chapter aims to provide an explanation of why other theories are not used.
As mentioned above, the methodology used to conduct the research is mentioned first. With a qualitative approach a more in depth knowledge can be obtained. Qualitative
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Theories used in this research can be traced back to Michel Foucault and his theories about power and discourse (Foucault, 1972; Foucault, 1980, p. 200). Michel Foucault did not wrote specifically about museums but his notion of discourse and power have been applied to the institution of museums. Michel Foucault wrote about epistemic discourse of knowledge where understanding is connected to a particular time (Foucault, 1970). Hetherington explains Michel Foucault’s notion of discourse as “Discourse produces ways of knowing the truth, a truth which takes on the appearance of universality but is, in fact, specific to particular time-bound ways of knowing and ways of organizing that knowledge at different points in history” (Hetherington, Foucault and the Museum, 2015, pp. 24-25). Michel Foucault came up with this theory and the method of Critical Discourse Analysis in the late twentieth century. Eileen Hooper-Greenhill applied this theory of discourse of knowledge to the history of the museum (Hooper-Greenhill, 1992). For Hooper-Greenhill, the discourse epoch of modern museums is where its ordering is based on clear classification systems (Hetherington, Foucault and the Museum, 2015, p. 27). She also mentions that a discourse changes through disjunctures that become problematic through established knowledge (Hetherington, 2015, p. 27; Hooper-Greenhill, 2000). Although these theories see…show more content…
Texts focusing on Islamic art historiography, as well as introductions in Islamic art survey books and museum catalogues, frequently mention definitions and concepts of Islamic art. These definitions can rank from a short paragraph to more elaborate definitions and criticism of the concept. Definitions and concepts of Islamic art may say less about the artifacts and more about the surrounding environment. Conceptual Analysis is a theory that could certainly have been applied to the concept of Islamic art as it certainly travels and breaking it down could provide more information. Unfortunately the size more than the scope of this topic limited the use of theories and Conceptual Analysis as used for example by Mieke Bal (Bal, 2009) will not be used in this research. This research will also not cover any theories related to education, audience or participation. Even though education and audience are important aspects of museums, the focus of this research would be too broad to include these features as well. Therefore, the knowledge transfer theory by Eileen Hooper-Greenhill will not be used as well but is certainly a point of interest for further research as some museum professionals of Islamic art are working with this theory (Weber, A Concert of Things: Thoughts on Objects of Islamic Art in the Museum Context, 2012a, p.

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