Xian Zhou


"French theory" is another expression for the post-structuralist thought in France, with Foucault's theory of discourse being the most influential, and constructivism lies at the core of the theory. On the one hand, the theory of discourse highlights the function discourse performs in constructing subjectivity and the reality; on the other hand, it aims to reveal the symbiotic relation between the power and knowledge behind discourse. Thus, the theory dissolves the cognitive agency of the subject while foregrounding the subject's construction of discourse, and it highlights the representational practice of discourse while forecloses the social material practice of the non-discourse. The theory of discourse focuses on textual analysis and displays a tendency of "discourse fetish", but it fails to reveal any anti-discursive approach. The theory of discourse is a noteworthy recent trend in knowledge production, and it has its demerits, which could be exposed through the reflection on and critique of this theory and improved to gain more interpretative validity through the integration between this theory and other theories.

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