Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008

Publication Title

National Forensic Journal



First Page


Last Page



During my first few years as a high school speech coach, I worked with an oratory student who was also a policy debater. During one particular coaching session, she mentioned that she and her partner were "running Foucault" as a case in policy. "What do you mean you are 'running' Foucault,'' I asked? She then informed me how the work of Foucault and other critical and cultural theorists was being employed in the competitive policy debate world as "kritiks." My student explained that she and her partner were using Foucault because it was "the way" to win rounds: "all of the good teams are running kritiks." No real explanations of Foucauldian concepts e.g.; the development of technologies as methods of power and oppression, the using of discourse as systems of cultural control, histories as exemplars and expressions of hegemony - were presented or taught by her coaches in practice or detailed by her competitors in rounds. None of these formative and revolutionary ideas were actually engaged, employed in detail or explained, or taught to the debaters. Debaters simply stated "as Foucault points out ... " in their 1AC and that was it.

Included in

Communication Commons