Michel Foucault's Theory On Sexuality

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MICHEL FOUCAULT ON SEXUALITY Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, philologist and social theorist. He made discourses on the relationship between power and knowledge and about how they are utilized as a form of social control through social establishments. This essay talks about Michel Foucault’s discourse on sexuality. He put forward his theory of the history of sexuality. He talked about how the experts began examining sexuality in a scientific manner in order to learn the “truth” of sex. He dismissed the notion that sex was a repressed topic to talk about in the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. He said that in fact, it was during this time that people started talking more about sex. He argued that this hypothesis of not…show more content…
It all started with the roman catholic churches where they called their disciples to confess about their “sinful desires”. Sexual behavior became an important object of study for various analysis, like the demographic and statistical. The government realized that they had to engage themselves in analyzing sexuality more in order to understand the birth and death rates, issues like marriages, contraception etc. Prior to the 18th century, the study of sexuality was only focused on married couples. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the emphasis then moved on to more “unnatural” groups like the sexuality of children, the criminals and the homosexuals. An individual’s sexuality seemed to explain a lot about the character of that individual. Labelling perverts generated a sense of power in the minds of the people who studied on sexuality and the perverts themselves. Foucault said that the bourgeoisie society showcased undisguised, fragmented perversion, but controlled where it could take…show more content…
The answer lies in the relationship that sex has with knowledge and power. Focusing on how power controls sex by laying down rules and regulations to follow, he said that power insisted domination and submission. He said power hides its true intentions by calling it beneficial. Foucault argued that we need to develop analytics of power in order to understand sex. He said that westerners think of power as emanating from the law. He rejected this, saying that we must construct a method of power that no longer takes law as the code or a model. Instead of conceiving power as a repressive concept, where we think all that power does is repress and restrict, we should regard power as something that is present everywhere and is flowing from all directions. Power is as productive and helpful as it is restrictive. Power functions from all social relationships and is imposed throughout society. Sexuality therefore isn’t something that power crushes, but it’s a great channel of power. Sexuality then spreads through four major central points- the sexuality of children and women, the perverts and the married couples. The spreading of sexuality through these four points allows extension of power into the families, and thus throughout the
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