The Formation of Strategies
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The Formation of Strategies book
Such discourses as economics, medicine, grammar, the science of living beings give rise to certain organizations of concepts, certain regroupings of objects, certain types of enunciation, which form, according to their degree of coherence, rigour, and stability, themes or theories: the theme, in eighteenth-century grammar, of an original language (langue) from which all others derive, and of which all others carry within themselves a sometimes decipherable memory; a theory, in nineteenth-century philology, of a kinship between all the IndoEuropean languages, and of an archaic idiom that served as a common starting-point; a theme, in the eighteenth century, of an evolution of the species deploying in time the continuity of nature, and explaining the present gaps in the taxonomic table; a theory, propounded by the Physiocrats, of a circulation of wealth on the basis of agricultural production. Whatever their formal level may be, I shall call these themes and theories ‘strategies’. The problem is to discover how they are distributed in history. Is it necessity that links them together, makes them invisible, calls them to their right places one after another, and makes of them successive solutions to one and the same problem? Or chance encounters between ideas of diﬀerent origin, inﬂuences, discoveries,
speculative climates, theoretical models that the patience or genius of individuals arranges into more or less well-constituted wholes? Or can one ﬁnd a regularity between them and deﬁne the common system of their formation?