The Death of the Author?

Roland Barthes: From Work to Text

Roland Barthes discusses the future and rhetoric of Text. Text is not necessarily written text, but something with a message that is told through a certain language, a metaphysical term of Meaning, that relates through the text it self and the reader. Therefore, the identity of the author and the qualitative values of a certain Text is irrelevant. What is the Meaning/Message?
We have a need for making discourse a matter of dialogue and not a author-reader relationship, or a reader-text relationship (in which the reader has the ability to throw away a text if deemed "boring"/"incomprehensible"/etc.). Instead more a author-author relationship. Teaching our children only to read is unhealthy, we should also activate them into writing, to make their own thoughts about a discourse, and just make a go at expressing their thoughts, even if it is deemed of "bad" quality. Practise makes perfect, right?

Roland Barthes presents seven main points, or "touches" as he calls it, in speaking about Text.

These are:

1. Text as a Method
2. Text as a Rhetoric
3. Text as a Sign
4. Text as a Code
5. Text as a Intellectual Property
6. Text as a Game
7. Text as Pleasure

Michel Foucault: What is an Author?

In „What is an author“ Michel Foucault elaborates upon the authors role and relevance, as he wishes to „propose a necessary criticism and reevaluation“.

He proposes to not look at the authorship as relevant and as proof of authenticity, but on the contrary ask questions like he poses in the end of his text; „What are the modes of existence of this discourse? Where does it come from; how is it circulated; who controls it? And so forth. – Let the text exist in its own right.

Foucault's 4 characteristics

Foucaluts thoughts translated to new media called Wikipedia open up for a whole new discourse discussion. Authorship in the traditional sense of thinking loses on importance and the work becomes collective, collaborative knowledge creation. With more then 91000 active contributors working on encyclopedic database Wikipedia offers a discursive formation that regulates and structures the production of statements. These are produced by anonymous Internet users, writing either under pseudonyms or completely anonymous as the real identity is barely used for safety reasons. The goal of the discussion forums is to find a consensus and offer a unique reliable objective knowledge collection. Originally three separate statuses, those of author, editor and reader become blurred into single one online entity. The writing subject “endlessly disappears” blurring the borders between an author and reader.
Even though the author-function in given context disappears as it hardly makes any sense anymore, discourse still requires that other forms of restriction emerge in its absence and some kind of “new mode of existence” arises. Talking about Wikipedia, any contribution can be reviewed, edited and corrected, expunging the footprints of the original writer, empowering the anonymous mass production. We do not question the authenticity of a scientific work in line with the author’s name anymore, as people used to do appealing to the guarantee of the name of Aristotle or other authority in Middle Ages.
The author-function offers a huge variability; it is not to be applied only to individual works, but to larger discourses as well. It is the “possibilities or ruler for formation of other texts”, which can certainly be applied to the phenomenon of Wiki.

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