Old Things—New Names
DOI link for Old Things—New Names
Old Things—New Names book
To categorize-animals, objects or other things that make up the structure of our world-seems to have a powerful grip over us-both in our understanding of what these things are perceived as being, and also of what these things do to the structure of our world. Categorization thus seems to be the ungodly resemblance of the godly hammer of Thor, in Norse mythology: an unstoppable force that changes the course of humankind (and gods); categorization is an ontological hammer that changes how we understand and make sense of things. It is this understanding that Foucault (1989) in his introduction to The Order of Things exposed through the use of Borges fi ctitious taxonomy of animals, allegedly found in an ancient Chinese encyclopedia: Those that belong to the emperor, Embalmed ones, Those that are trained, Sucking pigs, Mermaids (or Sirens), Fabulous ones, Stray dogs, Those that are included in this classifi cation, Those that tremble as if they were mad, Innumerable ones, Those drawn with a very fi ne camel hair brush, Et cetera, Those that have just broken the fl ower vase, and Those that, at a distance, resemble fl ies.