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Michel Foucault (Essay Sample)

An analysis of Michel Foucault discourse on the history of sexuality. source..
Student’s Name Instructor’s Name Course Date Michel Foucault Introduction Foucault considers the history of sexuality as the repressive hypothesis. It is established that besides the purpose of reproduction, sex is a taboo (Foucault 128). Foucault reveals that since the 18th century, sex has been treated as a practical and a private affair that should only occur between a husband and a wife. However, under the ‘repressive hypothesis,’ sex outside the marital confines is not simply forbidden, but repressed. The only way to liberate from this hypothesis to be more open about our sexuality, enjoy it , and think about it every time. In relation to power, Foucault asserts that sexual liberation from oppression is a trick of power (Foucault 78). This paper seeks to establish the reasons as to why liberation is a power trap, politics that ensue from this claim, and additional actions. Discussion According to Foucault (2012), the insistence of the rule states that power is essentially, what offers its law to sex (p.83). This implies that under normal circumstances, sex is place by power into a system. In addition, law declares whether sex is illicit and licit, permitted and prohibited. Other conditions of power concerning sexuality include the following. First, power prescribes that sex is a form of intelligibility. On the other hand, power maintains that sex is facilitated through language, or via the discourse that a rule of law. In dealing with sex, Foucault declares that power employs nothing more than law of prohibition. According to Foucault (2012), the cycle of prohibition declares, “thou shalt not go near, thou shalt not speak, thou shalt not consume, and thou shalt not experience pleasure” (p. 84). This declaration is an indication of the rule of law that prohibits law. Despite this supposition, Foucault disagrees with the claim that sexuality has been completely silenced and repressed. This is because people experience certain openings of confessions where inappropriate sexual feelings could be discharged easily. Foucault identifies psychiatry and prostitution as two main outlets that could make people engage in sexual relations in support of his claim. Assertion Denying that language of sexual liberation from oppression does not involve a trick of power undermines the law of prohibition. The relationship that sexuality has between power and knowledge creates an intense debate. Foucault criticizes the idea of power as a barrier or a law that simply represses and restricts. Instead, he suggests that power is as productive as it is repressive. In addition, Foucault suggests that power is omnipresent and multi-faceted as it is everywhere and works in all directions. Relating sexuality to power, Foucault asserts that sexuality is not a concern for power to repress, but a channel of power transmission. In fact, Foucault identifies four main concerns for sexuality. These concerns are sexuality of women, children, married couples, and sexuality of the perverse (Foucault 99). The organization of sexuality in these four categories enables power to penetrate into the family and the entire society. However, Foucault supports the claim that power is productive rather than repressive in sexuality. In addition, he maintains the claim that power does not liberate us from alienation to self-actualization, and this makes people consider power as a trap because of the following reasons. Power is something that is seized, acquired, and shared. In addition, power is considered as something that one holds and does not desire to release easily (Foucault 94). This implies that power resides within us and there is nothing can be done to avoid it. Moreover, power gives people a high status in the society and this makes it precious. Therefore, denying the relationship that sex has with power is a liberation trap. On the other hand, power comes from below. This means that power cannot be subject into a diverse array of relationships, which takes place in the society. Foucault uses the term discourse frequently to define that define who can speak/ what can be said, and to "practices" of "discipline" or "normalization." This implies that Foucault tries to establish who has done the speaking about sexuality, how has it been done, in what context, in reaction to who or what, and so forth. Foucault considers discourse an essential factor, in which language and knowledge are closely inclined to power. Foucault develops very strong evidence of the old saying, which states “knowledge is power.” In his assertion, whoever decides what can be talked about also decides what can be known. In addition, whoever decides what can be known also determines whom we are what people think. According to this Foucault, then, knowledge language always has a political attachment. Under the repressive hypothesis, Foucault establishes that power has been implemented to repress the discourse of sexuality (Foucault 102). In addition, the institution of marriage has been discussed in the discourse of sexuality, and Foucault asserts that marriage maintains the discourse of sexuality as its exclusive property. This is because Foucault asserts that sex is supposed to be practiced between a husband and a wife in marriage. In relation to cultures, any discourse about sex that happens outside marriage is prohibited. Foucault explains the suggestion that marriage institutions claim exclusive ownership to discourse on sex in the following manner; he links the rise of bourgeoisie to sexual repression. The Bourgeoisies became a very rich and powerful class subsequent to the aristocrats. They valued work ethics and it is their industriousness, which made them accumulate much wealth. Such a class valued sex as an exercise that would frown and make them lose energy. This made sex to be confined between a husband and a wife in marriage, thereby claiming exclusive rights (Foucault 90). In addition, sex became an object of disapproval as well as unnecessary waste of energy. Therefore, it is clear that power, discourse, and sex have a direct correlation. Claiming that power does not repress discourse on sexuality constitutes a liberation trap. In addition, knowledge, power, and discourse are linked in the repressive hypothesis (Foucault 90). Because ...
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