Monday, July 05, 2010

On Speaking Plainly

I like a bit of over-complication as much as the next man, but certain styles of writing I find very difficult to get on with. To wit, from the introduction to Ashenden and Owen's 'Foucault Contra Habermas':

The first aspect of this criticism is based on an elementary confusion in that, although Foucault's analyses typically operate by focusing on the practices through which relations of knowledge, power and ethics are articulated and focusing on the effects of these practices, that is, the ways in which they structure forms of subjectivity, this does not entail the rejection of hermeneutics per se, since it is through the self-understandings and actions of human agents that these practices have been produced and are maintained or transformed (as Foucault's essay 'The subject and power (1982) as well as the preceding scetion of this introduction makes clear).

Whatever else it may have done, as part of a text whose authors think sentences that long and with that many subclauses are appropriate, it seems unlikely that the preceding section of the introduction will have made much clear1.

1. I am of course aware that the first sentence of the post immediately below is at least as long.