A critique of foucault’s conception and predictions of the Author-function
In this paper, we appraise the thoughts of Foucault on the relationship between the author, work, and text, and the future of that relationship. In Foucault’s view, the text points to an author who is anterior to it, but this relationship is more complex than ‘traditionally’ understood because of the asymmetrical relationship between the concepts of author/writer and text/work. Although the author-function entails a form of individualization of text and ideas, Foucault argues that this has varied across disciplines, cultures, and time. In any case, the author-function determines the process of authentication, mode of circulation, and valorization. From the analysis of the relationship between the author and text in the premodern and modern eras, Foucault extrapolates that in the postmodern era the authorfunction will be transformed and diminished because language assumes the dominant role of determining the form and content of viable discourse. Foucault’s conception of the authorfunction is post-modernist and consequently eschews the author-figure, grand narratives, progressive and systematic evaluation of texts, values and ideology, and temporality. However, contemporary trends in the understanding of the author-function do not fully bear out his predictions. Besides, intellectual property rights are more institutionalized and the boundary between authorized and unauthorized valorization and modification is intensely contested. The contestations are over valuable creations and, whether originating from an author or authors, this affirms the viability of projects such as Sage Philosophy.