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Foucaults Analyses of the Repressive Hypothesis - Essay Example

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Foucaults Analyses of the Repressive Hypothesis

Sexuality was gradually divided into smaller pockets of desire, and some preferences isolated as 'perversions'. At the same time, the ethics of the confessional made it seem necessary to analyse and judge every sexual preference; power was created in this way for the benefit of the listener; in exchange the teller gained a system of knowledge, and the release of discourse. Power remained linked to sexuality through discourse and the importance of knowledge. The eighteenth and nineteenth century saw the classification of women's bodies as 'hysterical', children's bodies as 'innocent', family bodies as 'ritual' and 'social' and abnormal bodies as 'medical'. "A sexuality without sex": Paedophilia and the problem of repression in the current age. Feminists and Foucault: problems and sympathies. Male-repression, chosen sexuality, and the problems of sexual liberation movements; rebellion and convention: is there a sexual difference Controlling the body. Conclusion.
Michel Foucault has become one of the most influential of the French philosophers of the twentieth century. While Foucault has been connected with both the postmodernist and post-structuralist movements, he was in essence a social theorist and historian, not unlike Lawrence Stone, although Foucault worked more on the interplay of ideas, while Stone concentrated more upon the impact of social alterations on family, sexual relationships, and society at large. While some may wish to study their fellow humans and as 'does such a thing as human nature exist', Foucault instead concentrates upon how the idea of human nature has interacted with other parts of society.
In order to truly comprehend what it is that Foucault is saying about power and desire within repression, and (even harder) understand what he means by these terms, the reader must have some understanding of Foucault's ideas of power, truth, and desire.
According to the traditional view of "Repression" (one that Foucault places firmly within a Freudian context) the Victorians were "Repressed" and we in the modern age, with constant talk of sexuality and a relative openness regarding the subject, have broken free of that repression. Sexuality had power over the Victorians through its denial, the modern age is freed from those shackles. This Foucault presents as the traditional view of sexual repression, and also of power. For Foucault, in the case of this theory specifically, power is not "A general system of domination exercised by one element or group over another, whose effecttraverse the entire body social" Foucault's view of power is one in which "The condition of the possibility of powershould not be sought in the primary existence of a central pointit is the moving based of locations of force that incessantly induce, by their inequality, states of power, but always local and unstable" (Foucault, 1990, pages 121-122). Foucault's view of "Power" in The History of Sexuality is of a force that is not centred within a particular individual or group (however much that may appear to be the case), but rather as ...Show more

Summary

Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to consider the nature of Power, Knowledge and Desire in Sexuality, as described by Michel Foucault in his analysis of the Repressive Hypothesis - the idea that the Victorians were a lot more repressed about sexuality than those of us alive today…
Author : esperanza31
Foucaults Analyses of the Repressive Hypothesis Essay essay example
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