I'd like to qualify my response to Anonymous. There seems to be way in which Zizek conceives of knowledge itself being destructive to ideology. Specifically, he seems to view understanding "the logic of enjoyment" (125) as antithetical to ideology, and, consequently, enjoyment. Earlier, Zizek writes that, "It is also clear why Facism was so terrified of psychoanalysis: psychonalysis enables us to locate an obscene enjoyment at work in this act of formal sacrifice" (82).
I was left with a nagging question in the wake of today's class. Where does Foucault (and where should we) draw the line between the innate aspects of sexuality and constructed ones?
I was very intrigued by Foucault's "perpetual spirals of power and pleasure" (45). I read this section as an explanation of how in gaining a dominant control over the sexuality of individuals and populations, power repurposes basically erotic pleasures and uses them for its own means of control. I was unsure whether to read this as intentional or a side effect, maybe the only way to make these methods of power sustainable: by tying them back into basic human pleasures.
I am very interested in the way that, aside from its relationship to sexuality, Foucault crafts his nuanced definition of power. At times, it seems he almost airs on the edge of depoliticizing the presence of power by making claims that about its omnipresence and everywhereness. However, what is most powerful about this conception, is that he artfully manages to posit this evasive power within a political framework of dominance and oppression. Foucault is most clear on the many faces of power in his section on 'Metho' (p.
In the West, "the obligation to confess is now relayed through so many different points, is so deeply ingrained in us, that we no longer perceive it as the effect of a power that constrains us; on the contrary, it seems to us that truth, lodged in our most secret nature, demands only to surface" (60).
"With these confessed truths, we are a long way from the learned initiations into pleasure, with their technique and their mystery" (62).
"the mere fact that one claimed to be speaking about [sex] from the rarefied and neutral viewpoint of a science is in itself significant. This was in fact a science made up of evasions since, given its inability or refusal to speak of sex itself, it concerned itself primarily with aberrations, perversions, exceptional oddities, pathological abatements, and morbid aggravations" (53)
Foucault emphasizes the difference between open, readable sexual discourses, and hidden and coded sexual discourses. This coupled with the ("official") relegation of sexuality to the home/parents' bedroom and to the brothel, away from public spaces, made me think of the last pm theorist we read who was also highly concerned with public and private spaces.
In the chapter "Domain", Foucault identifies specific measures of control that began in the eighteenth century. One such device is "a socialization of procreative behavior... a political socialization achieved through the 'responsibilization' of couples" (105). This brought to mind the "Marriage Protection Act" movement. Take this quote from the Senate Floor:
Protection of Marriage Amendment
U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla)
The concept of power relations is interesting but I'm not sure if I have a complete grasp over what he is saying. It seems that he wants to transcend beyond the traditional meaning of power simply being something that dominates and another that is being dominated. Instead of putting such a negative connotation on power in this way, he seems to want to shed some light on some of the less negative aspects of power.
I wonder where Foucault's general thesis of 'Part One: We "Other Victorians" ' places him in the spectrum of the rupture v. extension debate in postmodernism: