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October 2021

Revisiting bodies and pleasures

Journal/Book: Theor Cult Soc. 1999; 16: 6 Bonhill Street, London, England EC2a 4Pu. Sage Publications Ltd. 11+.

Abstract: Foucault proposes at the end of the first volume of The History of Sexuality to shift the focus of sexual studies from sex-desire to bodies and pleasures. This article seeks to establish what he means by this shift, how he proposes it be made, and what the consequences are for thinking about sexuality together with 'sex'. Foucault's shift involves a historiographical claim about the superability of the recent past, and can be read as an effort to relegate the concerns about sexual difference and kinship to the past, and to establish a contemporary field for sexuality that involves bodies without history, pleasures without sex. The article suggests a way around this questionable historiographical assumption and marks a different departure for a Foucauldian study of sexuality. IL also seeks to highlight some of the contemporary tensions between feminist and lesbian and gay studies, especially queer studies, in light of this reading of Foucault.

Note: Article Butler J, Univ Calif Berkeley, Dept Rhetor, Berkeley,CA 94720 USA

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