The statement is neither a syntagma, nor a rule of construction, nor a canonic form of succession and permutation; it is that which enables such groups of signs to exist, and enables these rules or forms to become manifest.

Foucault's theory of discourse is not a logical, axiomatic theory, but the description of a method. Nonetheless, he does examine the constituent elements of discourse: statements. In describing statements, Foucault distinguishes an aspect of language that is at once very specific and very open. The statement is defined neither by its referential nature, nor its grammatical construction, nor its propositional content. It is the level on which what is said exists in its relations with other statements. As such, it forms the basis for the definition of discourse.

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