ABSTRACT. This article addresses a paradox that is sometimes produced in the circumstances of using another author’s thinking for practical ends. In particular, I examine the concept of ‘problematization’ and how use of this concept, when referencing Michel Foucault’s influence on our thinking, can be interpreted as being epistemologically incompatible with Foucault’s explanation of how he himself preferred to understand its use. This epistemological incompatibility is furthermore explored in terms of how we understand the academic’s personal implication in the formation of the problematic that they critique. To use a so-called Foucauldian term in a way that is incompatible with how Foucault understood and preferred to use the same term is can be thought of as being tantamount to also being anti-Foucauldian. In order to draw out the nature of this problematic, the academic writer, as critic, is theorized as a critical actor; the illusion being that the problem of implicating oneself as a critic in the problem of doing something new requires one to act from the relationship with the self even though one might be drawing theoretically from the work of another. It is theorized that, if this challenge is not taken up, the academic’s relationship with self becomes displaced; making it more difficult for the reader to enter into the problematic discussed as something that they might respond to in a new way. pp. 93–105

Keywords: Foucault; Foucauldian; anti-Foucauldian; critical actor; problematization; displacement

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University of Waikato

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