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By Sapir E.

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Such dominant discursive regimes or regimes of truth serve a disciplinary or regulatory function: ‘discourses that carry public authority shape identities and regulate bodies, desires, selves and populations’ (Siedman 1998:235). Through the concepts, classifications, norms and categories that we use to represent reality, they provide means by which we govern others, for they are about ‘who can speak, when, where and with what authority…(so that) certain possibilities for thought are constructed’ (Ball 1994:21–22).

It means that they reside on a base of human practice and human history; and that since these things have been made, they can be unmade, as long as we know how it was that they were made. (Foucault 1988:36–37) The Foucauldian analysis of power therefore points to the importance of problematising commonplace assumptions—as expressed, for example, in constructed concepts such as ‘the child in need’, ‘child development’ or ‘quality’—and the rationalities that sustain these assumptions, and by doing so to make the familiar strange (Fendler 1998).

And it induces regular effects of power. Each society has its regime of truth, its ‘general politics’ of truth: that is the type of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true…. [Truth] is linked in a circular relationship with systems of power which produce and sustain it.

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