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Lecture 3

GSWS 096 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: The History Of Sexuality, Child Sexuality, Bourgeoisie

Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies
Course Code
GSWS 096
Jason Zuzga

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History of Sexuality - Foucault
Repressive hypothesis: the history of sexuality over the past 300 years has been
a history of repression. Sex (other than for reproduction) is taboo. The only way
to liberate ourselves is to enjoy sex and be open about our sexuality
Foucault DISAGREES with this. He thinks that discourse about sexuality
has only intensified over the years. We started with married sex, and then
slowly became more aware of/talked about perversion (like child sexuality
& homosexuality)
Foucault thinks that this hypothesis ignores other cultures
ars erotica
: an art of sensual pleasure (many other cultures)
scientia sexualis
: an object of distanced, scientific investigation
Our discourse on sex is shaped by confession. People are
expected to “confess” having sex as a deep dark secret, which is
then analyzed scientifically
Juridico-discursive power concept: the definition of power is the ability to repress
and restrict through law.
Foucault DISAGREES. He thinks power is both productive and
repressive. Power does not repress sexuality. Sexuality is a channel for
power to be expressed!
Four major focus points: the sexuality of children, women, married couples, and
the sexually perverse
Because sexuality is existent in so many kinds of people, it allows
sexuality to be spread into families and society.
Bourgeoisie: Tried to control sexual deviance because they thought it was
dangerous. Had the intention of keeping their class safe/healthy because they
thought it was hereditary.
The deployment (spread) of sexuality is how many people keep power over our
Since the bourgeoisie, society has placed tight controls over our bodies
and reproduction.
People take this very personally because they think of sexuality as their
essence and identity.
Foucault DISAGREES. He says sexuality is just a social construct that
has made it easier for us to be controlled.
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