The Archaeology of Heroes: Carlyle, Foucault and the Pedagogy of Interdisciplinary Narrative Discourse

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Abstract

This paper argues in favour of the beneficial currency of Thomas Carlyle's ‘On Heroes, Hero‐worship and the Heroic in History’ in three ways, each of which finds the basis of its critique in aspects of Foucault's theories of discursive practice, as explored in Foucault's theories of historical discourse; 1) that Carlyle's terminology connects with his discursive practice in an ambiguous manner, as his concept of worship is more akin to study than devotion, if we take the text of his lectures as evidence of his perception; 2) the sources of enlightenment Carlyle offers us, based on these studies of heroic individuals, may provide an exemplar for interdisciplinary scholarship centred around biographies of notable individuals, and finally; 3) we challenge the notion that heroes such as those Carlyle offers us can be manifest in the present and argue that the depth of insight Carlyle demonstrates into his subjects is only possible by means of a lengthy temporal transition: the historicity of these narratives, and the narratives of social codification, cultural development and long‐term impact witnessed and described over generations, is what makes them feasible at all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-414
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Volume51
Issue number2
Early online date17 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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