What are the institutional presuppositions for successful discursive acts in the fields of cultural production? Who is authorised to speak? Who is taken seriously, and by what criteria are interlocutors judged?
By dismantling the premises of the inaugural speeches of Foucault and Bourdieu on the conditions for the production of legitimate discourse; and by discussing intermittently the current Pragmatic quest for a non-foundationalist philosophy and theory of (social) science, I venture to address some recent oddities in public debate. Prominent among these are the now ebbing ardour of the Science Wars in the aftermath of the Social Text affair and the still growing zeal with which proponents of standpoint epistemologies propose strategic and not true theories in order to promote political causes.
In this discussion, I address questions concerning the subject, object and means of discourse, as well as questions of reference, truth, experience, trust and intersubjectivity. I argue that the autonomy of the fields of cultural production is under siege and that the momentary success of some heteronomous position is won through a process which ultimately will lead to the dissolution of social science and to its depreciation in the broader context of the social space.