Elizabeth Grosz argues that, unlike some other versions of poststructuralist theory which analyze the representation of bodies without due regard for their materiality, Foucault's insistence on the corporeal reality of the body which is directly molded by social and historical forces avoids the traditional gendered opposition between the body and culture. Feminism Poststructuralism and contemporary feminism have emerged as two of the most influential political and cultural movements of the late twentieth century. However, to be a part of a certain system we are also allowing ourselves to be subject to judgement, surveillance and for our attitudes to be moulded in a certain way. Indeed, he rarely used translations, and he was very careful about his method of finding concepts from other languages, eras, and regions, and injecting them in the theoretical discussions he was interested in. Reflections on Resistance , Boston: Drawing on the traditional model of power as repression, many types of feminist theory have assumed that the oppression of women can be explained by patriarchal social structures which secure the power of men over women. The key problems identified by feminist critics as preventing too close a convergence between Foucault's work and feminism - his reduction of social agents to docile bodies and the lack of normative guidance in his model of power and resistance - are indirectly addressed by Foucault in his late work on ethics.
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According to Butler, gender identity is simply 'a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being' Butler If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. This new form of power is known as disciplinary power; a form of punishment closely linked to power and knowledge relations which, through objectification, form human beings as subjects, for example criminals, and also make them objects of knowledge for the human sciences Smart, These discourses, he claims, tended to understand sex as an instinctual biological and psychic drive with deep links to identity and, thus, with potentially far-reaching effects on the sexual and social behavior of individuals. Princeton University Press, By distinguishing power relations that are mutable, flexible and reversible, from situations of domination in which resistance is foreclosed, Foucault seeks to encourage practices of liberty 'that will allow us to play … games of power with as little domination as possible' Foucault b: The Birth of the Prison , trans. Likewise, the confessional booth was an extraordinary place to disseminate the truth of doctrine, and to engage in modifications of conduct among the members of the church. See to it that in the future what you say is not only true, but that the person whom you speak can bear the truth you tell him.
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Michel Foucault: Feminism
It is, Foucault contends, because disciplinary practices limit the possibilities of what we can be by fixing our identities that the object of resistance must be 'to refuse what we are' - that is, to fracture the limitations imposed on us by normalizing identity categories. In other words, perpetual surveillance is internalized by individuals to produce the kind of self-awareness that defines the modern subject. Foucault links the importance assumed by norms in modern society to the development of the human or social sciences. The most commonly cited feminist objections center around two issues: A dissection of the multiple ways—in the Roman period and early Christianity, and into the monastic period—that the subject tied him or herself to the manifestation of truth. An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers. The aim of these practices is to simultaneously optimize the body's capacities, skills and productivity and to foster its usefulness and docility:
Description:Disciplinary technologies are particularly effective forms of social control because they take hold of individuals at the level of their bodies, gestures, desires and habits to create individuals who are attached to and, thus, the unwitting agents of their own subjection. Power, Gender and the Self , Polity Press, Rather, it entails the active and conscious arrogation of the power of regulation by individuals for the purposes of ethical and aesthetic self-transformation. He suggests that the freedom entailed in practicing the art of self-fashioning consists neither in resisting power nor in seeking to liberate the self from regulation. Bartky suggests that women's seemingly willing acceptance of the various norms and practices that promote their larger disempowerment is due to the fact that challenging 'the patriarchal construction of the female body… may call into question that aspect of personal identity that is tied to the development of a sense of competence' Bartky Reflections on Resistance , I. Feminist responses to Foucault's late work are discussed in the final section. In this Stoic examination of conscience, Foucault suggests, Seneca is not searching inside himself for a deeper truth, he is not revealing a secret of the self, he is not exposing something about himself. Butler's own work represents an attempt to explore these processes for the purposes of loosening the heterosexual restrictions on identity formation.