Buy Study Guide Foucault begins Part Two by reiterating the gist of the repressive hypothesis: since the end of the 17th century, we have found ourselves forced into silence about sex. We have become censored. But Foucault moves immediately to rebuke this idea. Foucault suggests that new rules of appropriate speech were being codified, pertaining to what could and could not be acceptably said. This insight allows Foucault to examine the way that new limits, prohibitions, and euphemisms restricted sexual discussion, without agreeing with the repressive hypothesis that sex was silenced. The definition and enforcement of codes of sexual discourse is itself a form of sexual discourse.
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AM Sheridan Smith, , and Discourse is, thus, a way of organising knowledge that structures the constitution of social and progressively global relations through the collective understanding of the discursive logic and the acceptance of the discourse as social fact.
Whereas Lacan considers discourse from the point of view of psychoanalysis and, thus, the inter-subjective setting, Foucault considers discourse from the structural point of view of institutions and power. R Grigg. For Foucault, the logic produced by a discourse is structurally related to the broader episteme structure of knowledge of the historical period in which it arises. However, discourses are produced by effects of power within a social order, and this power prescribes particular rules and categories which define the criteria for legitimating knowledge and truth within the discursive order.
These rules and categories are considered a priori; that is, coming before the discourse. It is in this way that discourse masks its construction and capacity to produce knowledge and meaning. Further, through its reiteration in society, the rules of discourse fix the meaning of statements or text to be conducive to the political rationality that underlies its production.
Yet at the same time, the discourse hides both its capacity to fix meaning and its political intentions. It is as such that a discourse can mask itself as a-historical, universal, and scientific — that is, objective and stable. Foucault speaks of this discursive process as reducing the contingencies the other meanings of text, in order to eliminate the differences which could challenge or destabilise the meaning and power of the discourse: In every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organised and redistributed by a certain number of procedures whose role is to ward off its powers and dangers, to gain mastery over its chance events, to evade its ponderous, formidable materiality.
One of the ways in which this is achieved is through the commentaries of discourse: the statements or texts which continually reaffirm the meanings enacted by the discourse, without ever breaching the discursive paradigm. Foucault explains thus: Commentary averts the chance element of discourse by giving it its due: it gives us the opportunity to say something other than the text itself, but on condition that it is the text itself which is uttered [re-iterated] and, in some ways, finalised.
The open multiplicity, the fortuitousness, is transferred, by the principle of commentary, from what is liable to be said to the number, the form, the masks and the circumstances of repetition. The novelty lies no longer in what is said, but in its reappearance. Through this reiterative process discourse normalises and homogenises, including upon the bodies and subjectivities of those it dominates, as Foucault explores in Discipline and Punish , and in some of his later lecture series.
G Burchell, By fixing the meaning of text, and by pre-determining the categories of reason by which statements are accepted as knowledge, a discourse creates an epistemic reality and becomes a technique of control and discipline. With effect, Foucault demonstrated these discursive practices of exclusion in the categories of reason and madness in his first major work, Madness and Civilisation.
R Howard, However, it is in one of his last published works that we find a compelling description of the function of discourse analysis as a technique of critique and problematisation: The Will to Knowledge: History of Sexuality Volume I. R Hurley, With respect to sexuality and the discourse which produces its historical meaning, Foucault writes: Why has sexuality been so widely discussed, and what has been said about it? What were the effects of power generated by what was said?
Moreover discourse analysis must seek to unfix and destabilise the accepted meanings, and to reveal the ways in which dominant discourses excludes, marginalises and oppresses realities that constitute, at least, equally valid claims to the question of how power could and should be exercised.
FOUCAULT THE INCITEMENT TO DISCOURSE PDF
Modern society, according to Foucault, "put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning sex". Further to this he dispels the idea that sexuality has not been the subject of open discourse. The purpose of this paper is an attempt to explain, through the reasoning of Foucault, that modern society has implemented the mechanisms necessary for generating true discourses relating to sex. Firstly, is sexual repression an established historical fact? Is what first appears to our view really the accentuation or establishment of a regime of sexual repression beginning in the seventeenth century? Secondly, do the workings of power in our society belong to the category of repression and is power exercised in a general way through prohibition, censorship and denial? Was there really a rupture between the age of repression and the critical analysis of repression?
Michel Foucault: Discourse
Sexuality is a social construct that channels a variety of different power relations. Our concept of sexuality is built by the strategies that make use of it: it serves as a network that joins together physical sensations and pleasure, the incitement to discourse, the formation of specialized knowledge, and political controls and resistance. Foucault identifies four centers that have related power and knowledge to sex. The female body, as a center for reproduction, has also come to be considered a matter of public interest and public control. Third, the "socialization of procreative behavior" sees reproduction and therefore sex as a matter of public importance, and disapproves of non- procreative sex. Fourth, the "psychiatrization of perverse pleasure" is the result of studying sex as a medical and psychiatric phenomenon.
FOUCAULT INCITEMENT TO DISCOURSE PDF
Malanris Not any less was said about it; on the contrary. Firstly, is sexual repression an established historical fact? The confession can be voluntary or wrung from a person by violence or the threat of it. Through the confessional process truth and sex have integrated and knowledge of the subject has evolved Smart, The end result of this ritual produces fundamental changes in the person who expresses it as it exonerates and liberates him with the promise of salvation. The transformation of sex into discourse along with the dissemination and reinforcement of heterogeneous sexualities are all linked together with the help of the central element of the confession which compels individuals to express their sexual peculiarity no matter how extreme it may be Foucault, Foucault states that rather than a prudishness of language or a uniform concern to hide sex, what distinguishes these last three centuries is the proliferation of devices that have been invented for speaking about it, having it spoken about, inducing it to speak of itself, for listening, recording, transcribing and re-distributing what is said about it: The practice is understood and experienced while pleasure is not defined in relation to the permitted or the forbidden.
The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1
AM Sheridan Smith, , and Discourse is, thus, a way of organising knowledge that structures the constitution of social and progressively global relations through the collective understanding of the discursive logic and the acceptance of the discourse as social fact. Whereas Lacan considers discourse from the point of view of psychoanalysis and, thus, the inter-subjective setting, Foucault considers discourse from the structural point of view of institutions and power. R Grigg. For Foucault, the logic produced by a discourse is structurally related to the broader episteme structure of knowledge of the historical period in which it arises.