From a broad consideration of discourse, a general set of questions emerges: Who is speaking and what are they saying? Who is not speaking and what are they not saying? What is the significance of each in either case? Here I take up a line of inquiry corresponding to the second part of this formulation regarding the lack of speakers and speech. My chosen path into this field of thought is through the writing of Michel Foucault—an especially convenient figure due to the capaciousness of his understanding of discourse. Much work on Foucault and language is focused on questions of discourse in its positivity, i.e. what discourse is, how it is formed, and what its potential power-effects are. However, there is also a corresponding set of ideas concerning a lack of discourse—i.e. silence—and much can be meaningfully said about these ideas in Foucault’s writing. Given these assertions, this thesis seeks to answer the following question: what is the function of silence in Foucault’s understanding of discourse?



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