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Michel Foucault’s Notion of “Knowledge and Power” and its Application to English Education

Emiko Matsumoto,

Faculty of International Liberal Arts, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan

This paper is a preliminary study to conduct critical discourse analysis to explore what is needed in English education in medical schools. In Japan, among many business circles, the social status of medical doctors is considered high compared with that of the US and Europe. Therefore, it is extremely competitive to enter medical school in Japan. After entering to the medical schools, students must spend certain amount of time in English education. However, it is questionable if the English curriculum offered at a medical university match the future objectives of students. The researcher would like to speculate a framework of “Knowledge and Power” (Foucault, 1984). Foucault argues that we only have a knowledge of things; if they have meaning, if they have discourse. Rather than possessing innate meaning, Foucault believes each individual give meaning to objects and events. The researcher chose critical discourse analysis because according to Van Dijk (2002), critical discourse analysis is a field that is concerned with studying and analyzing text to reveal the discursive sources of power, dominance, inequality, and bias. As noted in Eirik et al. (2012), medical doctors have “power” and most narratives involved by medical doctors demonstrated aspects of power. Thus, in order to refer to the basic concept of the “power”, the researcher examined the medical doctors discourse community, by using and analyzing the interview data and explore the possibility of optimizing the power of discourse among medical doctors in Japan.

Keywords: Cognition, Discourse, Medical English, Michel Foucault, Critical Discourse Analysis, Knowledge and Power

The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Sixth International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 9-10 October 2021, Ahwaz.