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Michael Foucault Scientia Sexualis And Repressive Hypothesis Ufs Research Paper

5273 words - 22 pages

ASSIGNMENT ONE
GSMS7928
TOPIC:
Provide a brief overview of Michel Foucault’s concept of Scientia Sexualis and the Repressive hypothesis and then provide a discussion on how “Queer Theory” productively challenges normative understandings and conceptions of gender and sexuality in the 20th century
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………2
2. Understanding Sexuality.....................………………………………………………....2
3. Repressive Hypothesis ………………………………………………………………....4
4. Scientia Sexualis ……………………………………………………………………….7
5. Understanding ‘Queer Theory’ ………………………………………………………9
6. How ‘Queer Theory’ challenges Gender and Sexuality in the 21st Century ……..12
7. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………14
8. Reference List ………………………………………………………………………..15
1. Introduction
“In traditional accounts, sexuality is viewed as a natural feature of human life which was repressed in Western society and culture from the 17th century onwards, hidden from view like Victorian piano legs and unmentionable, censored out of speech and writing. Sexuality was still there, simmering under the prim surface of 19th-century bourgeois respectability, but it was stifled by prohibitions and repressions. Until, that is, it, and we, were liberated in the age of the mini-skirt and the analyst, revealing our legs and our innermost desires, bringing it all out into the open. Problems would remain, of course, and some of us would be happier and healthier than others in direct proportion to the free expression we were able to give to our happy and healthy sexual desires. The therapist, the analyst, the counsellor could help us to straighten ourselves out. A happy outcome to a sorry tale of the restriction of human potential. But is this story, familiar and comforting as it is, true? Has sexuality always been waiting for us to free it, and with it ourselves, from social constraints?” (Spargo, 2000: 11).
Michel Foucault refuted this ‘repressive hypothesis’ and argued that evidence from the 19th century was an extraordinary generation of discourses about sexuality rather than a constraint on speaking about sexuality and provokes the question ‘what was, is, sexuality?’ An important element of Foucault’s argument was that sexuality is not viewed as an innate truth for human life but rather a constructed category of experience with historical, social and cultural, rather than biological, connections. This notion of sexuality is rather difficult to understand (Spargo, 2000).
In light of this, a brief discussion on understanding sexuality will be provided before an overview of Foucault’s rejection of the ‘repressive hypothesis and notion ‘Scientia Sexualis’, is discussed. This essay will further delve into the notion ‘Queer Theory’ and how it challenges gender and sexuality in the 20thcentury.
2. Understanding Sexuality
According to Gerson (2010) sexuality, is a multidimensional concept and has had an expanding barrage of discourse around the topic in the past...

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