“This technique might have remained tied to the destiny of Christian spirituality if it had not been supported and relayed by other mechanisms. In the first place, by a “public interest.” Not a collective curiosity or sensibility; not a new mentality; but power mechanisms that functioned in such a way that discourse on sex–for reasons that will have to be examined–became essential” (1506).

On the discussion of Western religion’s views on sexuality, Foucault makes an interesting point in regards to censorship and how sex, or the taboo nature of such acts, “The Christian pastoral prescribed as a fundamental duty the task of passing everything having to do with sex through the endless mill of speech. The forbidding of certain words, the decency of expressions, all the censorings of vocabulary, might well have been only secondary devices compared to that great subjugation: ways of rendering it morally acceptable and technically useful” (1504). Not only is the ruling class using sex to suppress individuality and free speech, but it also uses sex as a way to dole out what type of speech is approved and disapproved. It is also interesting that in regards to the taboo nature of certain sexual acts or sexuality, it is society itself that creates the taboo. In the fundamental sense, a taboo would not exist if it were not for society labeling acts as such.

One thought on “Foucault”

  1. So, I have been thinking about Foucault’s theory and how it might be applied to knowledge/learning. For instance, by creating rules, standards, language of grading, etc., in other words, the language of education, are we thereby eliminating the intrinsic reasons for learning, and instead created an explicit formula for what it takes to get an A, or pass a class. Do college students see education as merely what I need to do to get a job and make money, rather than a way to expand their thinking/knowledge. Just a thought.

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