Power In Foucault's Influence Of Power

1141 Words5 Pages
Foucault also refutes the idea that power is always a one-way street. He says that power can come from below, because “there is no binary and all-encompassing opposition between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations” (94). Furthermore, one should not search for who “has the power in the order of sexuality (men, adults, parents, doctors) and who is deprived of it (women, adolescents, children, patients)” (99). To him, it is not a black-and-white case where one group has absolute supremacy over the other, such as men dominating women. The impression that power is always held by the government or a specific entity or organization may be seen as technique of power in Foucault’s eyes because it allows dissidents to have a common enemy.…show more content…
Foucault says that “since sexuality was a medical and medicalizable object, one had to try and detect it – as a lesion, a dysfunction, or a symptom” (44). And because people who took charge of sexuality, such as doctors and psychiatrists, “set about contacting bodies, caressing them with [their] eyes, intensifying areas, electrifying surfaces, dramatizing troubled moments … (there was) a sensualization of power and a gain of pleasure” (44). There was an encouragement to explore personal pleasures and delve deeper into the psychology and physiology of sex. People such as physicians took it seriously and legitimized its existence, thus perhaps disproving the common notion that there was a repression of sex. In fact, there were medical records, research, examinations, etc. of sexual experiences and desires – “not only a visible explosion of unorthodox sexualities,” Foucault notes, but also “the proliferation of specific pleasures and the multiplication of disparate sexualities” (49), such as the sexuality of the invert, the gerontophile, the fetishist, the sexuality of doctor and patient, teacher and student and so on (47). With the rise of developments like Protestantism and 19th century medicine, confession spread to be used in a slew of relationships, such as between children and parents, students and educators and patients and psychiatrists. “For the first time no doubt, a society has taken upon itself to solicit and hear the imparting of individual pleasures” (63). Thus, Foucault rejects that there was a repression of sex from the 18th century onward. As demonstrated by events such as the medicalization of sex stemming from religious confessionals, “rather than the uniform concern to hide sex, rather than a general prudishness of language, what distinguishes these last three centuries is the variety, the wide dispersion of devices that

More about Power In Foucault's Influence Of Power

Open Document