Article published in:History of Linguistics 2005: Selected papers from the Tenth International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHOLS X), 1–5 September 2005, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Edited by Douglas A. Kibbee
[Studies in the History of the Language Sciences 112] 2007
► pp. 416–431
Kristeva on the encyclopedists: Linguistics, semanalysis, and the epistemology of Enlightenment science
This essay ties Julia Kristeva’s linguistics into the general postwar critique of the Enlightenment and western knowledge production, most familiar from Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari. These voices critique today’s academic disciplines as fundamentally anti-humanist and formalist, thus overdue for a critique of their inherent ideological biases. In Language, The Unknown: An Initiation to Linguistics(1981), Kristeva offers a paradigmatic critique of the Encyclopedists’ linguistics as an emergent rationalist and “scientific” discipline. Kristeva’s own linguistics, aligned with psychoanalysis rather than the natural sciences, emerges as a critical challenge to this linguistics, questioning “master” academic disciplines and their norms for production of truth and knowledge. Kristeva stages her critique by returning to the discipline’s history, with the goal of renovating linguistics as a new kind of human science, systematic without being formalist, and thus more aware of the epistemological limits of its own knowledge and authority.
Published online: 28 November 2007