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Counter-discourse

The French philosopher and social historian Michel Foucault maintains that every social discourse contains one or more (small or large-p) politically generated truth claims. Foucault also believes that every discourse encounters a counter-discourse that challenges the original discourse’s legitimacy. Foucault … Continue reading


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Who’s got the power?

Way Back The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle defined power in a way that remarkably prefigures Sir Isaac Newton‘s three laws of motion. Aristotle says power is The agent causing a change in something The ability or potential in an object enabling … Continue reading


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Poststructuralism – Another label to be avoided?

Poststructuralism could be defined as an approach to knowledge that appeared in the social sciences during the 1960s to 70s as a reaction against or outgrowth of structuralism. The term poststructuralism was most chic within academic circles during the mid-1980s to … Continue reading


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Postmodernism – Not necessarily absurd or without wings

The term postmodernism became popular in the 1970s and 80s but has roots reaching back through the centuries. Social theorists usually try to define concepts through a key set of ideas and parameters. Postmodernism challenges conventional perceptions of “the definition” … Continue reading


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Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Creative genius on the edge

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was a French speaking political writer and educator born in Geneva, Switzerland. After taking various odd jobs this self-taught intellectual moved to Paris in 1741, meeting up with Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedists. A kind of … Continue reading


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Skepticism – An old way of finding out new things

In philosophy skepticism is the notion that we cannot know things beyond a shadow of a doubt. Extreme skepticism contends that we cannot be certain about the truth of any belief, including the belief in skepticism. Softer forms of skepticism … Continue reading


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Rakshakas – Hindu and Buddhist demons

Embed from Getty Images Ogoh ogoh, demon procession during Balinese New Year’s Eve in Ubud. In Hinduism, Rakshakas (or Rakshasas) are demons appearing in the Puranas (sacred scripture laden with mythic stories) that are capable of shape shifting. Females are … Continue reading