Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so much more than a history of sexuality
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...
Published on 26 Jun. 2000

versus
21 of 153 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Will to Cloud the Issue
The inane self-contradictory ramblings of a man with serious issues concerning his own sexuality.He purports to prove that there was no sexual repression by constantly referring to the enormous amount of repression present during the Victorian age. He seems to feel that the amount of discussion surrounding sex is the main problem and then proceeds to discuss it. The book...
Published on 18 Jan. 2005


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so much more than a history of sexuality, 26 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-presented work of enlightened essence, 9 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 5 Oct. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Beat around the Bush, 9 Feb. 2011
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (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. He take a detached non relational observation of the world as if the word is both enthralling and dangerous. The language is also obtuse and he could have been much clearer in stating his thesis,at the beginning. Whilst most people see the Victorians as an age of repression, in reality people spoke about sex incessantly, except as an object, rather than as an experience. This would have led to other openings such as; Why was a human activity objectified?

What were the psychological reasons- a reaction to trauma? The constant death in childbirth, infancy, war, disease, loss of community? Foucault opens the door, it becomes a crack, he peers into the vast netherworld beyond and reports back with a certain myopic view. It is correct in its perception, but fails to see the panorama as it focuses on the microscopic.

However without Foucault and Nietzsche before him, perhaps this realm would have been ignored altogether. Therefore it is difficult to castigate, but it is important not to lionise. This is just a starting point in changing perception and not the end. Wilhelm Reich's book on Character Analysis, equally flawed offers another viewpoint on sex and the psychological impact of its clampdown and objectification. Reading the fragments of the jigsaw can help to build the whole picture.

This book is just a fragment. The pieces are waiting to be arranged for those have the inner perception to see the outward horizon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and provocative, 21 April 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Foucault's zenith, 4 Jan. 2015
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
What else is there to say about this trailblazing work that has not already been said? An immensely theoretically complex work crammed into relatively few pages, Foucault moves on from his thesis in 'Discipline and Punish', wherein he introduced the notion of disciplinary power. In 'HoS Vol 1', Foucault further develops the concept of biopower, constituted by two poles - discipline, directed at the individual body, and biopolitics, directed at the population. He further develops the concepts introduced in 'Abnormal' and 'Society Must Be Defended', and the final chapter (The Right to Death and the Power Over Life) is particularly mind-blowing. He argues that although biopower seeks to invest in life and incite to live, wars have never been more murderous and bloody than in the contemporary era of biopower. The paradoxical situation is brought about as although wars were previously conducted in the name of the sovereign, contemporary wars are conducted in the name of genetic hygiene, in the name of race - and that the elimination of the 'Other' is thought to make the Self stronger. In other words, wars have become genocidal.

A fantastic work that must be read for anyone seriously confronting the topic of power.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 16 Jan. 2011
By 
Bruce L (Venice, Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
So much of Michel Faucault's studies on sexuality have become part of our contemporary consciousness on the issue that it is difficult for someone like myself who is not a specialist in the field to add much of value. My only serious question concerning these three volumes is why Faucault sees Hellenic and Roman culture being the exclusive precursors and sources for Christian and therefore modern concepts of sexuality. Little or no mention is made of Hebraic sources. It is, of course, possible that Hebraic sources plaid no significant role in this specific discourse, but given that they did, in fact, contribute to many other areas of Christian thought, at very least a discussion of the reasons for their putative lack of significance to this discourse is warranted.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars An accessible read and a noteworthy read too, 20 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
This book and the second volume are worth looking at for most social science students and students in related disciplines. Foucault's deconstructionist perspective is incredibly well written and logically mapped out in this text. I'm not going to go into the content but this will open your eyes to the historical narratives that have led us to this point in time concerning sex, sexuality and gender roles in society.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 16 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
I needed this for my philosophy course, it came in good time and in good condition, it is a very useful book for my course.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1 (Paperback)
good
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge: The Will to Knowledge v. 1
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews