Significance of Foucault in the Study of Sexuality - Essay Example

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Significance of Foucault in the Study of Sexuality

In earlier days, supreme people had the right of life, as well as death over his subjects. This "right of life" was, in reality, a "right of death." The supremacy practiced by the supreme people was merely a matter of deciding whether a person would be killed or not (Foucault, 1978). In general, sovereign power executed itself as a form of "inference": it consisted of the authority to take things such as life, property, privileges and taxes away from its subjects. Today, the author suggests, power no longer affirms itself as an inference, but as a "right of death" (Foucault, 1978). The authority has power over life via the deaths that it can sway. The key interest of power, these days, is in life, and how to protect, expand and enhance it. Warfare is still waged, but they are not waged in support of the "right of death" of some supreme people, but are instead waged to guarantee a better means of life for humanity. As warfare has become bloodier, the death punishment has become less often. Also, while the death punishment was once a resentful act of obliteration, today it is perceived as a safeguard, as a means of eradicating a threat to society. Supremacy is now exercised solely over life and is practiced either to promote life or to prohibit it. Above any other element, Foucault perceives bio-power as liable for the rise of capitalism. Humanity came to be perceived as a vital factor in politics and history. How people live became an aspect of knowledge and power. The law became less concentrated in prohibiting and disbanding, and became more concerned in optimizing and normalizing the conditions of human life. Successfully, the new-fangled power over life that the author discusses signified that humanity fell under the control of politics. ...Show more

Summary

The History of Sexuality is a famous publication that shades light to western world of sexuality composed by Michel Foucault, a renowned French theorist or philosopher. …
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