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A History of Sexuality: An Introduction v. 1 (Penguin history) Paperback – 28 Jun 1990


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Paperback, 28 Jun 1990
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Jun. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140124748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140124743
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 788,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

One of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century and the most prominent thinker in post-war France, Foucault's work influenced disciplines as diverse as history, sociology, philosophy, sociology and literary criticism. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
This, the first volume of French philosopher Michel Foucault's tripartite study of sexuality is as idiosyncratic as the man himself. Unlike the works of a number of his colleages, this book is highly accessible and of interest to any broadminded reader, although it would be of particular interest to students of philosophy, sociology, gender, politics, religion, history etc etc.. I personally have recommended H.O.S.1 to a number of friends and have yet to receive a negative response. While more of an intellectual curiosity than a full blown philosophy, Foucault's concepts reverberate far beyond the parameters of the book's subject.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Readable and digestable is very much what can characterise the style of the book. In content, Foucault explores the creation of sexual categories and their relevance to the power structures of the capitalist society. It is a clear treatise on sexual fascism and how it is used to the ends of the power structure. Inherent within the book, and it is this which makes it different from other attempts, is the manner in which Foucault views the conditioning of sexuality as part of our Western scientific tradition. In certain respects, he is unscathed by that same tradition in the way he comments on sexuality and its deployment as a tool for power. In this way, the book does not reflect a critique of the capitalist economy more than a realisation of the way power is ingrained within the structures of the political economy and the psyche of the people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Whilst Communists following Marx concentrated on the felt effects of power in alienation and the industrial production. There were also other places where power operated, other than the factory floor. Foucault with his internal dialogue with Marx, sought out the crannies where power cascaded. Sex and science were two spheres used to categorise the soul

Drawing on a Nietzschean geneological method, he dug under the layers of the modern world to find out how it had been constructed. This took him to asylums, prisons and the bordello.

Here he aims to uncover how sex went from a form of "innocence" into the dis-curses of science. Krafft Ebing, Havelock Ellis and William Stekel were the pioneers of sexology. Science was discussed endlessly in the Victorian era but not in the Daily Smut or Vorgasm but by science.

All undertaken as the modern age dawned, sexual perversion, paraphilia, became a secret word and its workings spoken in hush tones. Meanwhile a legion of professions emerged to measure and quantify whatever was normal. Secret sexual histories were written and privately discussed in hushed tones. The normal taboos placed upon sex led to it being colonised by the new disciplines; psychology, psychiatry, biology.

Foucault touches upon the reasons for these changes. He creates a signpost for rethinking the rationale for the suppression of sex. The arguments are thought provoking but also stilted. They lack a jouissance, he ignores the places where sex was left unsullied- the black African shacks were rock and roll was born, the blues musician being the midwife for a new aesthetic.

Foucault aims to reproduce the dynamics, he aims to uncover that which has been masked. The "negative review" on Amazon is correct in this perception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Artsreadings on 5 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was originally published in French in 1976, and rapidly translated in English in 1978, which in itself gives a good indication of the cultural impact of French philosopher Michel Foucault on contemporary thought and scholarship.

It might prove difficult to read at times as the translation is quite close to the original French text.

It is a very dense text, with lots of ideas, and also Foucault trying his best to reinforce his line of argument with imagining contradictory points of view and refuting these in turn along the line of argument.

Part One: We "Other Victorians" 1

Part Two: The Repressive Hypothesis 15
Chapter 1: The Incitement to Discourse 17
Chapter 2: The Perverse Implantation 36

Part Three: Scientia Sexualis 51

Part Four: The Deployment of Sexuality 75
Chapter 1: Objective 81
Chapter 2: Method 92
Chapter 3: Domain 103
Chapter 4: Periodization 115

Part Five: Right of Death and Power over Life 133

Index 161
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By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First published in 1976, this is the first volume of Foucault's great analysis and theorisation of `sexuality', a concept, he argues, which emerges in the nineteenth century.

With his characteristic iconoclasm, his verbal and mental fireworks, Foucault forges links between power, knowledge and sexuality, tying them together through analyses of discourse and its functionality.

Taking his starting point as the so-called `repression' of the Victorians, he shows how rather than being silenced about sex, Victorian culture centralised it, creating a science of sex (Freud, Krafft-Ebbing, Charcot) that supported ideologies which were economically useful to and supportive of capitalism, and which were essentially conservative.

Of course, being Foucault, these are never going to be straightforward, uncomplicated or transparent arguments. So don't read this if you want to passively agree with what you're being told - Foucault is deliberately combative, striving to stimulate us into arguing back to refine his insights but also to build on them - as scholars have been doing since the 1970s.

So this may be dense, sometimes frustrating, sometimes, even, a bit bonkers - but for all that, it's still central to the way in which we construct, analyse and deconstruct ideas of the politics of sex and sexuality today.
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