Modern society, according to Foucault,
"put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning sex".

By Roy Hornsby

Michel Foucault's "History of Sexuality" is an undertaking in nullification of the notion that Western society has experienced a repression of sexuality since the seventeenth century. Further to this he dispels the idea that sexuality has not been the subject of open discourse. The purpose of this paper is an attempt to explain, through the reasoning of Foucault, that modern society has implemented the mechanisms necessary for generating true discourses relating to sex.

Foucault raises three doubts in "A Will to Knowledge", volume one of the trilogy "The History of Sexuality". Firstly, is sexual repression an established historical fact? Is what first appears to our view really the accentuation or establishment of a regime of sexual repression beginning in the seventeenth century? Secondly, do the workings of power in our society belong to the category of repression and is power exercised in a general way through prohibition, censorship and denial? His final question asks, does the critical discourse that addresses itself to repression act as a block to the power mechanism that has operated unchallenged to this point or is it in fact a part of the same thing that it denounces and misrepresents by calling it 'repression'? Was there really a rupture between the age of repression and the critical analysis of repression? (Foucault, 1998).

Foucault's doubts about the conception of repression were stimulated by evidence of an emerging proliferation of discourses on sex since the seventeenth century. His analysis begins with an examination of the widely held belief that in the Victorian era, sexual experience and practice were subjected to a power of repression (Smart, 1985). Smart (1985, p.95) cites Foucault as formulating a radically different set of questions;

"Why has sexuality been so widely discussed and what has been said about it? What were the effects of power generated by what was said? What are the links between these discourses, these effects of power, and the pleasures that were invested by them? What knowledge (savoir) was formed as a result of this linkage?"[1]

Foucault initially directed his work on sexuality to questions such as these although there was evidence from the seventeenth century onward of a whole new set of proprietary rules in the domain of sexuality and a growing sense of prohibition, censorship and general silencing of sexual discussion. He argued that there was another tendency that became apparent in the increase of sexual discourse (Smart, 1985). According to Smart (1985, p96), Foucault stated that as the seventeenth century drew to a close;

"there emerged a political, economic and technical incitement to talk about sex. And not so much in the form of a general theory of sexuality as in the form of analysis, stocktaking, classification and specification, of quantitative or causal studies"[2].

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a diversity of discourses on sexuality in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, pedagogy, criminal justice and social work emerged. This occurred as sex became increasingly an object of administration and management through government inquiry. The analysis of population demographics led governments to focus on investigations into birthrate, legitimate and illegitimate births, age of marriage, frequency of sexual relations, fertility and so on. The effect of these analyses was a grid of observations that related to sexual matters. In that manner, sex became confined to the privacy of the home and the procreative couple and at the same time it became an enmeshment of a web of discourses and forms of analysis between the state and individuals (Smart, 1985).

Foucault shatters the illusion that from the Middle Ages onward a prudish Victorian culture did everything that it could to silence sexuality when he claims that sexuality was, in that period, the subject of immense verbosity. He states that the desire to speak about the repressed nature of sex participated in the very structure that it was seeking to decipher (Bristow, 1997). Foucault argues further by suggesting that it is peculiar to modern societies not to consign sex to a shadowy existence but to speak about it ad infinitum whilst at the same time exploiting it as the secret. Foucault states that rather than a prudishness of language or a uniform concern to hide sex, what distinguishes these last three centuries is the proliferation of devices that have been invented for speaking about it, having it spoken about, inducing it to speak of itself, for listening, recording, transcribing and re-distributing what is said about it: a whole network of varying, specific and coercive transpositions into discourse. Rather than censorship, what evolved was a regulated and polymorphous incitement to discourse (Foucault, 1978). Foucault has no patience at all with what is termed the 'repressive hypothesis' as he feels that a society cannot be sexually repressed when there is such an incitement to discourse upon this very belief (Bristow, 1997).

According to Foucault, until Freud, the discourse on sex that scholars and theoreticians engaged in never ceased to hide the thing that they were speaking about and by speaking about it so much, by multiplying it and partitioning it off there was created a screen-discourse, a dispersion avoidance meant to evade the unbearable and too hazardous truth of sex. It began to be spoken about from the rarified and neutral viewpoint of science, a science that refused to speak of sex itself but spoke of aberrations, perversions, exceptional oddities, pathological abatements and morbid aggravations. It stirred up peoples fear as it claimed to tell the truth as it ascribed an imaginary dynasty of evils destined to be passed on for generations (Foucault, 1978).

During the nineteenth century Western civilizations developed a scientia sexualis the goal of which was to produce true discourses on sex. The 'Right to Reconciliation' or the 'confession', the history of which may be traced back to the first centuries of Christianity, was the technique at the centre of this production of truth about sex. Sex has been the central theme of confession from the Christian penance to the psychiatrist's couch. Through the confessional process truth and sex have integrated and knowledge of the subject has evolved (Smart, 1985). Foucault desired to trace the thread through so many centuries that has linked sex and the search to identify the truth for our societies. He said;

"how is it that in a society like ours, sexuality is not simply a means of reproducing the species, the family and the individual? Not simply a means to obtain pleasure and enjoyment? How has sexuality come to be considered the privileged place where our deepest "truth" is read and expressed? For that is the essential fact: Since Christianity, the Western world has never ceased saying: "To know who you are, know what your sexuality is". Sex has always been the forum where both the future of our species and our "truth" as human subjects is decided.
Confession, the examination of the conscience, all the insistence on the important secrets of the flesh, has not been simply a means of prohibiting sex or of repressing it as far as possible from consciousness, but was a means of placing sexuality at the heart of existence and of connecting salvation with the mastery of these obscure movements. In Christian societies, sex has been the central object of examination, surveillance, avowal and transformation into discourse" (Michel Foucault, Politics Philosophy Culture, 1988)[3]

This intersection of the technology of the confession with scientific investigation and discourse has constructed the domain of sexuality within modern societies as being problematic and in need of interpretation. Indeed to construct a knowledge of the individual the object of the investigation has become to uncover the truth of sex and to reveal its assumed hidden secret. Sex became our privileged locus or secret of our being - our truth, and the pursuit is now for the 'truth of sex' and the 'truth in sex' (Smart, 1985).

The confession has spread its effects far and wide; we confess our crimes, our sins, our thoughts and our desires. Whatever is most difficult to tell we offer up for scrutiny with the greatest precision. We confess in public and in private to parents, educators, doctors, loved ones in pleasure and in pain, things that would be impossible to tell anyone else. The confession can be voluntary or wrung from a person by violence or the threat of it. Sex, albeit hidden we are told, has been the privileged theme of confession from the Christian penance to the present day. The transformation of sex into discourse along with the dissemination and reinforcement of heterogeneous sexualities are all linked together with the help of the central element of the confession which compels individuals to express their sexual peculiarity no matter how extreme it may be (Foucault, 1978).

The confession is a ritual of discourse in which the speaking subject is also the subject of the statement and it is also a ritual of power manifested by the presence of another. The other becomes the authority who requires the confession in order to arbitrate upon it. Through the complete expression of an individual secret, truth and sex are joined but it is the truth which serves as the medium for sex and its manifestations. The end result of this ritual produces fundamental changes in the person who expresses it as it exonerates and liberates him with the promise of salvation. It is the bond between the one who speaks and what he is speaking about within the intimacy of discourse that warrants the integrity of the confession. The dominant agency does not reside within the constraint of the person who speaks but rather within the one who listens and says nothing; neither does it reside within the one who knows and answers but within the one who questions and is not supposed to know. The discourse of truth takes effect finally however, from the one from whom it was wrested and not from the one who receives it (Foucault, 1978).

The possibility exists that sexual discourses merely served to provide a foundation for imperatives aimed at the eradication of 'unproductive' forms of sexuality. That perhaps all of the forms of discourse had as their end the cultivation of a vital population, reproduction of labour capacity and the prevailing social relations. Foucault argues that if the discourses were aimed at eliminating fruitless pleasures then they had failed, for by the nineteenth century a multiple implantation of perversions and a dispersion of sexualities had occurred. He suggests that non-conjugal, non-monogamous sexualities were not prohibited or eliminated by the power of the discourse of the confessional but that they were incited and multiplied. As a consequence a proliferation of unorthodox sexualities has eventuated. It is the sanctity accorded to the heterosexual monogamy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that has as its natural consequence the incitement to confession of a multitude of sexual perversions that were deemed as unnatural or abnormal equivalents to the 'regular' sexuality of the 'acceptable' couple (Smart, 1985).

Foucault informs us that historically there have been two main procedures for producing the truth of sex. Societies such as China, Japan, India, Rome and the Arabo-Muslim societies granted to themselves the ars erotica, and from this erotic art, truth is drawn from the pleasure in itself. The practice is understood and experienced while pleasure is not defined in relation to the permitted or the forbidden. Our society has broken with the tradition of ars erotica and bestowed upon itself a scientia sexualis by adapting the ancient procedure of the confession to the rules of scientific discourse. Nearly one hundred and fifty years have gone into the making of the complex machinery for producing true discourses on sex and the enablement of the truth of sex and its pleasures to be embodied in a thing called 'sexuality' (Foucault, 1978).

The immense extortion of the sexual confession came to be constituted in scientific terms in the following ways; a clinical codification of the inducement to speak, the postulate of a general and diffuse causality, the principle of a latency intrinsic to sexuality, the method of interpretation, the medicalisation of the effects of confession (Foucault, 1978, pp 65-67). Foucault has rationalized that contrary to the opinion that the society of the nineteenth century had little dialogue relating to sex, that they did in fact put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses about it. To Foucault the censorship and taboos on the mentioning of sexual topics are secondary, or perhaps even complimentary to the explosion of discourses on sexuality (Cousins & Hussain, 1984). This society conceived a new type of pleasure as it endeavoured to create the homogeneous truth concerning sex: pleasure in the truth of pleasure.


The History of Sexuality

Background Info:

From Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations, Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, 1991

Foucault rejects the equation of reason, emancipation, and progress of modern theory and argues that an interface between modern forms of power and knowledge has served to create new forms of domination. His project is to write a ''critique of our historical era,'' to write about subjects that seem natural but that are contingent on sociohistorical constructs of power and domination. Systematizing methods of study produce reductive social and historical analyses; knowledge is perspectival in nature, requiring multiple viewpoints to interpret a heterogeneous reality. Modern theories see knowledge as neutral and objective (positivism) or emancipatory (Marxism), but Foucault emphasizes that knowledge is indissociable from regimes of power. Power is ''a multiple and mobile field of force relations where far-reaching, but never completely stable effects of domination are produced.'' It is plural, fragmentary, differentiated, indeterminate, and historically and spatially specific. He rejects the idea that power is anchored in macrostructures or ruling classes and is repressive in nature. Power is dispersed, indeterminate, heteromorphous, subjectless, and productive, constituting individuals' bodies and identities. It operates through the hegemony of norms, political technologies, and the shaping of the body and soul. In this book, Foucault argues that power operates not through the repression of sex, but through he discursive production of sexuality and subjects who have a ''sexual nature.''

Part I: We ''Other Victorians''

Repression is a sentence to disappear, an injunction to silence, an affirmation of nonexistence, and by implication, an admission that there was nothing to say about such subjects. Repression has been seen as the fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality since the classical age and nothing less than a transgression of laws, a lifting of prohibitions, an irruption of speech, a reinstating of pleasure within reality, a whole new economy in the mechanisms of power will be required to free ourselves from it. If sex is repressed, then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of a deliberate transgression.

It has been argued that repression coincides with the development of capitalism. Sex is repressed because it is incompatible with a general and intensive work imperative. However, according to Foucault, the essential thing is not the economic factor, but the existence of a discourse in which sex, the revelation of truth, the overturning of global laws, and the promise of a new felicity are linked together. Foucault's objective is to define the regime of power-knowledge-pleasure that sustains the discourse on human sexuality.

Part II: The Repressive Hypothesis
Chapter 1: The Incitement to Discourse

The 17th C was an ''age of repression.'' But since that time there has been a steady proliferation of discourses concerned with sex. Christianity played a large role in this by emphasizing the importance of confession and of verbalizing sexual matters. In the 18th C, sex became a ''police'' matter, not in the repression of disorder, but in an ordered maximization of collective and individual forces. It was deemed necessary to regulate sex through useful and public discourses. These discourses on sex did not multiply apart from or against power, but in the very space and as a means of its exercise. Mechanisms in the areas of economy, pedagogy, medicine, and justice incited, extracted, distributed, and institutionalized sexual discourse. A wide dispersion of devices were invented for speaking about it, for having it spoken about, for inducing itself to speak, for listening, recording, transcribing, and redistributing what is said about it. Rather than massive censorship, there has been a regulated and polymorphous incitement to discourse.

Chapter 2: The Perverse Implantation

Has increased discourse been aimed at constituting a sexuality that is economically useful and politically conservative? Foucault doesn't know if this is the ultimate objective. But reduction has not been the means employed for achieving it. The 19th and 20th C have been an age of multiplication: a dispersion of sexualities, a strengthening of their disparate forms, a multiple implantation of ''perversions.'' the discursive explosion of the 18th and 19th C led to an emphasis on heterosexual monogamy and a scrutiny of ''unnatural'' forms of sexual behavior. These polymorphous conducts were drawn out, revealed, isolated, and incorporated by multifarious power devices. The growth of perversions is the product of the encroachment of a type of power on bodies and their pleasures. It is through the isolation, intensification, and consolidation of peripheral sexualities that the relations of power to sex and pleasure branched out and multiplied, measured the body, and penetrated modes of conduct.

Part III: Scientia Sexualis

While there has been a proliferation of discourse on sex and an increase of awareness of a multiplication of sexual conducts, it nonetheless seems that by speaking of it so much, one was simply trying to conceal it: a screen discourse, a dispersion-avoidance. One also claimed to be speaking about it from the rarefied and neutral viewpoint of science, a science subordinated to the imperative of a morality whose division it reiterated under the guise of the medical norm.

Throughout the 19th C sex has been incorporated into two distinct order of knowledge: a biology of reproduction and a medicine of sex. There was no real exchange between them, no reciprocal structuration. This disparity indicates that there was no aim to state the truth but to prevent its very emergence.

Historically there have been two great procedures for producing the truth of sex. Many societies endowed themselves with ars erotica (erotic art), whereby truth is drawn from pleasure itself. Western society, however, has scientia sexualis, procedures for telling the truth of sex which are geared to a form of knowledge-power found in confession. In confession, the agency of domination does not reside in the one who speaks, but in the one who questions and listens.

How did this immense and traditional extortion of the sexual confession come to be constituted in scientific terms?
through a clinical codification of the inducement to speak
through the postulate of a general and diffuse causality
through the principle of a latency intrinsic to sexuality
through the method of interpretation
through the medicalization of the effects of confession

Thus, 19th C society did not confront sex with a fundamental refusal of recognition. On the contrary, it put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning it. It set out to formulate the uniform truth of sex. It created a new kind of pleasure: pleasure in the truth of pleasure.

*** A hypothesis of a power of repression exerted by our society on sex for economic reasons is inadequate for explaining the proliferation of discourse, the solidification of the sexual mosaic, and the production of confessions and an establishment of a system of legitimate knowledge and of an economy of manifold pleasures.

Part IV: The Deployment of Sexuality
Chapter 1: Objective

The aim of this inquiry is to move less toward a ''theory'' of power than toward an ''analytics'' of power, i.e., toward a definition of the specific domain formed by relations of power, and toward a determination of the instruments that will make possible its analysis. This analytics can be constituted only if it frees itself completely from a certain representation of power called ''juridico-discursive.'' This power is characterized by the negative relations between power and sex, the insistence of the rule, the cycle of prohibition, the logic of censorship, and the uniformity of the apparatus. Foucault wants to get rid of a juridical and negative representation of power, and cease to conceive it in terms of law, prohibition, liberty, and sovereignty. Instead he wants to advance toward a different conception of power through a closer examination of an entire historical material - the history of sexuality.

Chapter 2: Method

The analysis, made in terms of power, must not assume the sovereignty of the state, the form of the law, or the overall unity of a domination are given at the outset; rather, these are only the terminal forms power takes. Power must be understood as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization. Power's condition of possibility is the moving substrate of force relations which, by virtue of their inequality, constantly engender states of power, but the latter are always local and unstable. Power is everywhere; not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere.

Propositions of Power:
Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away; power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of nonegalitarian and mobile relations. Relationships of power are not in a position of exteriority with respect to other types of relations (economic, knowledge, sexual), but are immanent in the latter. They re not in superstructural positions, with merely a role of prohibition or accompaniment; they have a directly productive role, whenever they come into play. Power comes from below (I'm not quite sure what he means by this); i.e., there is no binary and all-encompassing opposition between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations. Power relations are both intentional and nonsubjective. They re imbued with calculation: there is no power that is exercised without a series of aims and objectives. Where there is power, there is resistance and yet this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power.

One must analyze the mechanisms of power in the sphere of force relations. As far as sex is concerned, the important question, then, is: In a specific type of discourse on sex, in a specific form of extortion of truth, appearing historically and in specific places, what were the most immediate, the most local power relations at work? We must immerse the expanding of production of discourses on sex in the field of multiple and mobile power relations. There are four rules to follow in order to carry this out: Rule of immanence: one cannot assume that there exists only a certain sphere in sexuality to be studies. instead, one must start an inquiry with the ''local centers'' of power-knowledge. Rule of continual variation: Relations of power-knowledge are not static forms of distribution, they are ''matrices of transformations.''

Rule of double conditioning: No ''local center'' or ''pattern of transformation'' could function if it did not eventually enter into an overall strategy. And inversely, no strategy could achieve comprehensive effects if it did not gain support from precise and tenuous relations serving as its prop and anchor point. Rule of the tactical polyvalence of discourses: There exists a multiplicity of discursive elements that can come into play in various strategies. Discourse can be both an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a point of resistance, and a starting point for an opposing strategy.

Chapter 3: Domain

Sexuality is a dense transfer point for relations of power: between men and women, young and old, parents and offspring, teachers and students, priests and laity, and an administration and population. Since the 18th C there have developed four strategic unities which formed specific mechanisms of knowledge-power centering on sex:
a hysterization of women's bodies
a pedagogization of children's sex
a socialization of procreative behavior
a psychiatrization of perverse behavior

These strategies led to the production of sexuality. Relations of sex thus gave rise to two systems: the deployment of alliance (marriage, kinship, etc.) and the deployment of sexuality. The deployment of alliance is built around a system of rules defining the permitted and the forbidden, whereas the deployment of sexuality operates according to mobile, polymorphous, and contingent techniques of power. The deployment of alliance aims to produce the interplay of relations and maintain the law that governs them; the deployment of sexuality engenders a continual extension of areas and forms of control. The deployment of sexuality was constructed on the basis of a deployment of alliance. The family is the interchange of sexuality and alliance: it conveys the law and the juridical dimension in the deployment of sexuality, and it conveys the economics of pleasure and the intensity of sensations in the regime of alliance. Because of this interchange, the family became a major factor of sexualizatio

Chapter 4: Periodization

The chronology of the techniques relating to sex (i.e., in the fields of medicine, pedagogy, and demography) do not coincide with the hypothesis of a great repressive phase of sexuality in the 17th century. Rather there was a perpetual inventiveness, a steady growth of methods and procedures. In addition, it seems that the deployment of sexuality was not established as a principle of limitation of the pleasures of others by the ruling classes. Rather the first deployment of sexuality occurred within these upper classes. This is because the primary concern was not repression of the sexuality of the classes to be exploited, but rather the vigor, longevity, progeniture, and descent of the classes that ruled. It was a question of techniques for maximizing life. What was formed was a political ordering of life, not through the enslavement of others, but through an affirmation of self. Sexuality then is originally, historically bourgeois, and in its successive shifts and transpositions, it induces specific class effects.

Part V: Right of Death and Power Over Life

Over time the ancient right to take life or let life was replaced by a power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death. Starting in the 17th C, the power over live evolved in two basic forms: an anatomo-politics of the human body (the body as a machine) and a bio-politics of the population (regulatory controls on the species body). Sex was a means of access both to the life of the body and the life of the species. The politics of sex revolved around the fours issues outlined in chapter 3 because they were at the juncture of the ''body'' and the ''population.'' Thus sex became a crucial target of a power organized around the management of life rather than the menace of death. The blood relation long remained an important element in the mechanism of power; but slowly the symbolics of blood have been replaced with an analytics of sexuality. The mechanisms of power are addressed to the body and to life.

Civilization and Its Discontents

Chapter I

The ego - our feeling of our own self - appears to us as something autonomous, unitary and set off distinctly from everything else. This appearance is deceptive, however, because the ego actually continues inwards without any sharp delimitation into an unconscious mental entity - the id. The ego serves as a kind of facade for the id. Usually the ego appears to maintain clear and sharp lines of demarcation, but sometimes (being in love, for instance) the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. In general, Freud sees pathology as a kind of condition where boundary lines between the ego and the external world become uncertain or in which they are actually drawn incorrectly.

With the recognition of an external world (external to the ego, that is) the tendency arises to separate from the ego everything that can become a source of unpleasure, to throw it outside and to create a pure pleasure-ego which is confronted by a strange and threatening 'outside.' This process of distinguishing what is internal and what emanates from the outer world is one of the first steps towards the introduction of the reality principle that dominates future development of the individual.

Freud, if nothing else, cannot be faulted for ignoring the importance of developmental phenomena. In fact he launches on a big example (a couple pages worth) of what it would be like if the city of Rome kept on growing without tearing down old buildings to make room for the new. His point is that unlike physical processes or entities, only in the mind (a psychical entity) is a preservation of all earlier stages along with the final (or current) form possible. Ie. we carry around our old baggage with us.

In the opening of the chapter Siggie mentions that a friend to his had described religious feeling as having some kind of ''oceanic''(a cosmic or eternal) quality. If such a thing is actually felt by all humans (or 'men' as the 'big S' would say), Freud thinks that is actually derives from an early phase of ego-feeling. So, the origin of the religious attitude can be traced back in clear outlines as far as the feeling of infantile helplessness and the concomitant need for the father's protection.

Chapter II

Religion provides a system of doctrines and promises which on the one hand explains the riddles of the world with enviable completeness, and on the other assures humanity and a careful Providence will watch over people's lives and compensate them in a future existence for frustrations suffered in the present. Freud contends (surprise, surprise) that ''the common man cannot imagine this Providence otherwise than in the figure of an enormously exalted father.''

Life, however, is hard and brings with it pain and difficulties. Therefore, we tend to construct palliative measures to help us cope. He cites three: powerful deflections that cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions which diminishes misery; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Freud then brings up the big question: ''What is the meaning of life?'' Luckily he doesn't really try to answer it (and I don't think I would want to hear his answer if he had one). But he does address the question of what people themselves show by their behavior to be the purpose and intention of their actions. Freud believes that we all obviously strive after happiness. This endeavor has both a positive side (experiencing strong feelings of pleasure) and a negative side (absence of pain and unpleasure). What decides the purpose of life is the programme of the pleasure principle, but there is in reality no possibility of its being carried - all of the regulations of the universe run counter to it (presumably Freud is an expert on all of the physical and mathematical laws of the universe). More specifically, we are threatened with suffering from three directions: our own bodies, the external world, and our relations to other persons.

There are a wide variety of ways in which we can deal with these pressures. We may choose to isolate ourselves from others to avoid any unhappiness that may flow from others, but on the other hand but might choose to become a member of the human community. This latter option might allow us to take part in the subjugation of nature to human will through techniques guided by science. A more internal strategy might be an attempt to control our instinctual impulses. Displacement of the libido, for instance, shifts instinctual aims in such a way that they cannot come up against frustration from the external world. A more extreme rejection of the external world would be the attempt to gain satisfaction through illusions (a hermit's attempted ideal recreation of the world and religions of mankind as mass-delusions of humanity are both counted among this strategy).

Others pursue a way of life that makes love the center of everything. Sexual love, according to Freud, has given us our most intense experience of an overwhelming sensation of pleasure and has thus furnished us with a pattern for our search for happiness. Although some may exhibit an aesthetic attitude, Freud believes that 'beauty' and 'attraction' are originally attributes of the sexual object. {A little tidbit of Freudian wisdom: ''it is worth remarking that the genitals themselves, the sight of which is always exciting, are nevertheless hardly ever judged to be beautiful; the quality of beauty seems, instead, to attach to certain secondary sexual characters.''}

Although the pleasure principle in its pure form is unattainable, we do adopt a sort of reality principle according to which we seek to gain as favorable a balance of happiness as we can by a combination of experiencing pleasure and avoiding pain. People tend to hedge their bets, however, and seldom look for the whole of their satisfaction from a single aspiration.

Chapter III

Freud believes that we basically resign ourselves to the fact that the external environment and our bodies are inevitable as potential sources of suffering. We, however, tend to refuse to admit that our relations with other people should not actually be a protection and a benefit. According to this latter contention, what we call our civilization is largely responsible for our misery and we should be much happier is we gave it up and returned to primitive conditions - ie. an attitude of hostility toward civilization. For instance, people have observed that since the Industrial Revolution, the newly-won power over space and time, the subjugation of the forces of nature (which is the fulfillment of a longing that goes back thousands of years) has not increased the amount of pleasurable satisfaction which they may expect from love and has not made them feel happier.

By civilization, Freud means the whole sum of the achievements and the regulations which distinguish our lives from those of our animal ancestors and which serve two purposes - to protect people against nature and to adjust their mutual relations. An early stage of the process of civilization recognizes as cultural all activities and resources (ie. tools) which are useful to people for making the each serviceable to them, for protecting them against the violence of the forces of nature, etc (ie. the notion of cultivation). With every tool humanity prefects its own human organs, whether motor or sensory, or is removing the limits to their functioning.

At the risk of wasting time and killing trees, I thought I would share this jag Freud goes off on about fire and its importance to civilization. This should give you a pretty good indication about why I think this guy is for the most part full of shit. This quote is taken from one of the footnotes (where he tries to sneak in his really outlandish stuff) - I might have to put on my hip-waders for this one:

It is as though primal man had the habit, when he came in contact with fire, of satisfying an infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine. The legends that we possess leave no doubt about the originally phallic view taken of tongues of flame as they shoot upwards. Putting out fire by micturating ... was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition. The first person to renounce this desire and spare the fire was able to carry it off with him and subdue it to his own use. By damping down the fire of his own sexual excitation, he had tamed the natural forces of fire. This great cultural conquest was thus the reward of his renunciation of instinct. Further, it is as though woman had been appointed guardian of the fire which was held captive on the domestic hearth, because her anatomy made it impossible for her to yield to the temptation of this desire.
Call me crazy, but I kinda doubt that this was how human civilization got off the ground.

Another general (and early) characteristic of the process of civilization is the tendency to create ideal conceptions of omnipotence and omniscience which are embodied as gods. These gods are cultural ideals in the sense that peoples attribute to them everything that seemed unattainable to their wishes, or that were forbidden to them. Among the other requirements of civilization, Freud stresses: beauty which we recognize and value in nature, and seek to (re)create in our handiwork; cleanliness - dirtiness of any kind seems incompatible with civilization; and order - establishing once and for all a set ways of doing things.

Freud feels that perhaps the best feature to characterize civilization is its esteem and encouragement of mankind's higher mental activities - intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements - and the leading role that it assigns to ideas in human life. If we assume quite generally that the motive force of all human activities is a striving towards the two confluent goals of utility and a yield of pleasure, we must suppose that this is also true of the manifestations of civilization.

The final characteristic feature of civilization that Freud addresses is the manner in which the relationships of persons to one another - ie. their social relationships - are regulated. Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as 'right' in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as 'brute force.' Members of a community restrict themselves in their possibilities of satisfaction, whereas the individual knows no restrictions. Building upon justice as a requisite of civilization, there should develop a rule of law to which all community members have contributed by a sacrifice of their instincts and which leaves no one at the mercy of brute force. The development of civilization imposes restrictions on individual liberty and justice demands that no one shall escape those restrictions.

Chapter IV

Once primitive humans discovered that they possessed the ability to improve their lot by working, other humans came to acquire value as fellow-workers with whom it was useful to live together. Freud believes that the communal life of human beings had a two-fold foundation: 1) the compulsion to work with was created by external necessity; and 2) the power of love, which made the man unwilling to be deprived of his sexual object (ie. the woman), and made the woman unwilling to be deprived of the part of herself which had been separated off from her (ie. her child).

Although love is important here as a source of satisfaction, it can be powerful source of suffering as well. Therefore, people make themselves independent of their object's acquiescence by displacing what they mainly value from being loved on to loving; they protect themselves against the loss of the object by directing their love, not to single objects but to all man (ie. mankind) alike; and they avoid the uncertainties and disappointments of genital love by turning away from its sexual aims and transforming the instinct into an impulse with an inhibited aim. Both sensual (ie. sexual) and aim-inhibited (non-sexual) love extend outside the family and create new bonds with people who before were strangers. A prominent character of the civilization process is a progressive increase of restrictions placed on sexual relations - in terms of who you can do it with and who you can't. This takes the form of narrowing circles of potential sexual partners across the developmental stages of civilization, ranging anywhere from polymorphous perverse bisexuality to heterosexual monogamy.

Chapter V

Neurotics, who cannot tolerate the frustrations they experience their sexual lives, create substitutive satisfactions for themselves in their symptoms. These symptoms wither cause suffering in themselves or become sources of suffering by raising difficulties in relations with the environment and society. Freud traces the difficulty of cultural development to the inertia of the libido. the antithesis between civilization and sexuality can be derived from the circumstance the sexual love is a relationship between two individuals in which a third can only be superfluous or disturbing, whereas civilization depends on relationships between a considerable number of individuals. Civilization summons up aim-inhibited libido on the largest scale to strengthen the communal bond by relations of friendship.

In the context of a discussion of the concept of ''love thy neighbor as thyself'' Freud has the occasion to relate a little passage originating with a writer named Heine. It goes a little like this:
''Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, hew will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrongs they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one's enemies - but not before they have been hanged.''

So what is the moral of the story? Freud believes that ''men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved, and who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness.'' This inclination to aggression is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbors and which forces civilization into such a high expenditure of energy to prevent the disintegration of civilized society. One technique for managing this aggression (particularly in smaller cultural groups) is directing outward in the form of hostility against intruders.

Chapter VI

Freud seeks to the concurrent existence of Eros (a libidinal instinct) with a death instinct, which he believes act in opposite directions but are difficult or impossible to distinguish as discrete items in reality. Freud thinks that the most fruitful way of conceptualizing the death instinct is as being directed toward the external world, so that it comes to light as an instinct of aggressiveness and destructiveness that can be directed at some external object rather than the individual (ego). The death instinct when directed inward cannot usually be isolated - the exception would be when it is alloyed with Eros and turns up in something like masochism.

Freud believed that the evolution of civilization amounts to the struggle between Eros and Death, between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction, as it works itself out in the human species; it can be described as the struggle for life of the human species.

Chapter VII

What means does civilization employ in order to inhibit the aggressiveness which opposes it? Aggressiveness is introjected, internalized; it is sent back to where it came from - that is, it is directed towards the individual's own ego. There it is taken over by a portion of the ego, which sets itself over against the rest of the ego as super-ego, and which now, in the form of 'conscience,' is ready to put into action against the ego the same harsh aggressiveness that the ego would have liked to satisfy upon other, extraneous individuals. The tension between the harsh super-ego and the ego that is subjected to it, is what we call a 'sense of guilt' - this expresses itself as a need for punishment.

Guilt comes from the intention of a deed of doing something 'bad.' Obviously the issue of right/wrong is a complicated one. Freud believes that there is an influence extraneous to the individual at work in determinations of good/bad. The individual's motive in submitting to this extraneous influence is a fear of loss of love, a consequence of that person's helplessness and dependence on other people. The larger human community constitutes this extraneous influence, an authority which is eventually internalized through the establishment of a super-ego. The guilt arising from fear of the super-ego (ie. fear of loss of love) is particularly persistent since even after renunciation of a forbidden wish, this wish still persists and cannot be hidden from the super-ego. In formation of the super-ego and the emergence of a conscience, innate constitutional factors (biological/genetic) and influences from the real environment act in combination. And of course he wouldn't be Freud if he didn't say ''We cannot get away from the assumption that man's sense of guilt springs from the Oedipus complex and was acquired at the killing of the gather by the brothers banded together.'' {This last bit is apparently something he went into a lot of detail about in Totem and Taboo, but is basically referred to as a primordial symbolic thing here} ''It was the same act of aggression whose suppression in the child is supposed to be the source of his sense of guilt.''

In response to the remorse felt after the act of aggression against the primal father, the super-ego is set up by identification with the father. Agency is given to the father's power as though a punishment for the deed of aggression against the father, and also created are restrictions intended to prevent a repetition of the deed. Chapter VIII

Freud contends that the sense of guilt is the most important problem in the development of civilization and it shows that the price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt. In the end guilt is a form of anxiety. Remorse is the general term for the ego's reaction in a case of sense of guilt. It contains sensory material of the anxiety which is operating behind the sense of guilt; it is itself a punishment and can include the need for punishment.

Owning to the omniscience of the super-ego, the differences between an aggression intended and an aggression carried out looses its force. When an instinctual trend undergoes repression, its libidinal elements are turned into symptoms, and its aggressive components into a sense of guilt.

Freud makes explicit a connection that implicitly runs through much of the book: the process of human civilization and the development or educative process of individual human beings are very similar in nature, if not the very same process applied to different kinds of objects.

The development of the individual seems to be a product of the interaction between two urges: the urge towards happiness - egoistic urge; and the altruistic urge toward union with others in the community. The analogy between the process of civilization and individual development can be extended in an important respect, by asserting that the community also evolved a super-ego under whose influence cultural development proceeds.

Ethics can be regarded as a therapeutic attempt, an endeavor to achieve by means of a command of the super-ego something that has not been achieved by any other cultural activities.

Studies in Ethnomethodology

Chap. 2 ''Studies of the routine grounds of everyday activities''

From the point of view of sociological theory the moral order consists of the rule governed activities of everyday life. A society's members encounter and know the moral order as perceivedly normal courses of action - familiar scenes of everyday affairs, the world of daily life known in common with others and with others taken for granted. Garfinkel is concerned with the activities of everyday life and that which is taken for granted, he is interested in how things are perceived and defined. He wishes to explore it as a topic and as a methodology. Sociologists commonly overlook the socially standardized and standardizing, ''seen but unnoticed'' expected background features of everyday life. This is a glaring oversight because the member of society uses background expectancies as a scheme of interpretation. Garfinkel bases his arguments and conclusions concerning ethnomethodology on a series of 'breaching' experiments, in which students deliberately breech the understood, but unspoken, rules of everyday encounters. These experiments are not really experiments, but more like demonstrations.

We begin first by exploring common understandings. Understandings cannot possibly consist of a measured amount of shared agreement among persons on certain topics. Garfinkel illustrated this point with an example of conversation between two people. When one examines the exchange, one realizes that there are many things that are understood between two people, especially those who have a standing relationship, than are actually mentioned. Also, many understood matters were understood on the basis of what was unspoken, the temporal series of utterances determined what was understood, and matters that were understood in common were understood only in and through a course of understanding work that consisted of treating an actual linguistic event as document or representation of some other real, experienced event. Of course, understanding also hinges on prior relationships and events, as well as the form of conversational interaction. Sometimes what is said is specifically vague and what is expressed may only be understood through further exchange.

Garfinkel argues that all of these realizations about conversation point to underlying properties of conversational exchange and the rules which govern them in daily life. Persons require these properties of discourse as conditions under which they are themselves entitled and entitle others to claim that they know what they are talking about, and that what they are saying is understood and ought to be understood. To test his hypotheses, Garfinkel sent forth a legion of students to conduct conversational breaching experiments. Students were instructed to question everything they were being told by asking what was meant. Example:
(S) I had a flat tire.
(E) What do you mean you had a flat tire?
When these experiments were conducted, the students often received responses of puzzlement, anger, concern, and frustration. Such responses demonstrated the importance of shared knowledge and understanding, as well as the rules which govern exchanges in conversation.

Other experiments and their conclusions included the following. In no one experiment was student participation 100%. There were also some variations in responses in all cases.

- Undergraduate students were asked to spend 15 mins. - 1hr. in their homes viewing its activities as if they were boarders with no history in the household. Persons, relationships, and activities were described without respect for their history, for the place of the scene in a set of developing life circumstances, or for he scenes as texture of relevant events for the parties themselves. Students were surprised to see how personal the interactions and treatments of others were, and how formal manners and protocol were often disregarded. Family members were confused, angered and often hurt by students' formal behavior. Students were often relieved when the experiment was over. Conclusion: Background understandings (mutually recognized texture) are necessary for adequate recognition of commonplace events.

- In a variant, students were asked to act as boarders in their own homes for the same length of time. They were supposed to be formally polite, and again unassuming in regards to relationships, common patterns of behavior, and the set up of the household. Familial response again involved anger, suspicion, frustration, and the like. In most cases, families vigorously sought to make the strange actions intelligible and to restore the situation to normal appearances. Explanations by family members were sought in previous, understandable motives of the student: overwork, sickness, personal troubles. When offered explanations by family members went unacknowledged, there followed withdrawal by the offended member, attempted isolation of the culprit, retaliation and denunciation. At the end of the experiment, students filled their families in on the little experiment, and while he families were forgiving, many were not very happy about playing the role of the guinea pig. Unlike the first experiment, relief was often only partial, and anticipatory fears were low. Conclusion: This too supports the idea that background knowledge is important and is understood as such when it is shared.

Background understanding has important social affects, but he role that a background of common understandings plays in the production, control, and recognition of these affects, however, is terra incognita. The existence of a definite and strong relationship between common understandings and social affects can be demonstrated and some of it features explored by the deliberate display of distrust, a procedure that produced highly standardized effects for Garfinkel. Distrust was chosen because on the everyday level, to treat a relationship under a rule of doubt requires that the necessity and motivation for such a rule be justified. Another experiment was in order: Students were instructed to engage someone in conversation and to imagine and act on the assumption that what the other person was saying was directed by hidden motives which were the real ones. Most students tried this with friends or families, and reported little embarrassment, but many hurt feelings on the part of the interactants. The two students who interacted with strangers were unable to complete the interaction.

Enough with the experiments for awhile, Garfinkel returns to the theory behind ethnomethodology. The possibility of common understanding does not consist in demonstrated measures of shared knowledge of social structure, but consists instead and entirely in the enforceable character of actions in compliance with the exigencies of everyday life as a morality. Common sense knowledge of the facts of social life for the members of the society is institutionalized knowledge of the real world. Common sense knowledge acts in the manner of self-fulfilling prophecy, the features of the real society are produced by persons' motivated compliance with these background expectancies.

Garfinkel extends this reasoning to claim that the firmer a societal member's grasp of What Anyone Like Us Necessarily Knows, the more severs should be his/her disturbance when the 'natural facts of life' are impugned for him as a depiction of the real circumstances. This is what the breaching experiments are intended to test. Individuals are presented with events that can only be understood by changing the objective structure of the familiar, they cannot be understood in terms of the understood background structure. Presumably, individuals will tend to try to normalize any incongruities.

Background knowledge often requires assumptions. Garfinkel refers to Schutz and his theories on assumptions, which can easily be compared to Goffman. According to Schutz, the person assumes, assumed that the other person assumes as well, and assumes that as he assumes it of the other person, the other person assumes it of him. (With all this going on, who has time to interact? - JPG) The actual assumptions made center around such things as the 'facts', what is said and what is meant, affectivity of objects or interactions, and various other interactive affects of objects and social structure. Only when one makes all of these assumptions, and the event has for the witness all of enumerated determinations, is it an events in an environment of common knowledge. Such attributions are features of witnessed events that are seen without being noticed.

Now, back to the experiments. Garfinkel came up with a new set of experiments designed to breach common understandings and produce confusion. All of the experiments satisfied 3 conditions: the person could not turn it into a joke or deception of any kind, the person could not 'leave the field' or have sufficient time to redefine the real circumstances, and the person would be deprived of consensual support for an alternative definition of social reality. One experiment was:

- Medical students were interviewed under the pretense of discovering why a med school interview was such a stressful situation. The interviewer posed as a rep from a prestigious school. During the 3 hour interview, the interviewer would play for each student a recorded interview with someone who had bad manners, was pompous and rude, and all in all a general 'bad interview', but the interviewer would act as if the recorded interview was ideal. The med students were then asked for their opinions and analysis. Results: Almost all students fell for the line. They often asked what others thought and after initial derogatory opinions, they worked hard to reconcile their previous statements with the interviewer's positive view of the recorded tape. 22 of 28 students felt marked relief when the experiment was explained to them afterwards.

Garfinkel is very critical of previous studies which treat individuals as cultural dopes who simply reproduce society without being aware of it. Such studies treat common sense rationalities of judgment as epiphenomenal. To test the idea of people being judgmental dopes, another experiment:

- Garfinkel sent out 120 students to stores where they were required to pick an item and offer to pay a price other than the one that was marked on the item. Most trial were conducted by offering a lower price for either an item under $2 or an item over $50. Most students found the most tense part of the experiment to be the anticipation phase, before they approached a sales person for the first time. Anticipatory fears declined for those with multiple trials. There was less discomfort in bargaining for high-priced merchandise, and more results of price negotiation. Sales persons can be dismissed as either having been dopes in different ways than current theories of standardized expectancies provide, or not dopes enough. A few showed anxiety, occasionally one got angry.

Such findings suggest that one can make the member of the society out to be a cultural dope by portraying individuals as those who follow rules when in actuality they have anticipatory fears of alternate situations, by overlooking the practical and theoretical importance of mastering fears, or if upon arousal of troubled fears, an individual strives to avoid the very situations in which they might learn about their fears. The more important the rule, the greater the likelihood that knowledge is based on avoided tests.

In standardized theories, persons may also be made out to be dopes by either over-formalizing, or over-simplifying the effects and texture of the environment, or by portraying routine actions as those governed by prior agreements, and by making the likelihood that a member will recognize deviance depend upon the existence of prior agreements.

In conclusion:
The study of common sense knowledge and common sense activities consists of treating as problematic phenomena the actual methods whereby members of a society, lay or professional, make the social structures of everyday activities observable.

''Deep Play:'' Notes on a Balinese Cockfight.''

Of cocks and men

Balinese men identify with their fighting cocks to a great extent. Their cocks represent their masculine identity and they take immaculate care of them, spend much time grooming them and training them, etc. The cock symbolizes maleness, the penis, as well as being a hated animal (the Balinese find all animals repugnant) and an object of fascination.

The fight

The rules of the cock fight are passed form generation to generation as part of the general legal and cultural tradition of the villages. The cock fight can be viewed as a sociological entity. The people who watch cock fights are not a ''group'' or a ''crowd,'' but a ''focused gathering'' of people -- persons engrossed in a common flow of activity and relating to one another in terms of that flow. There is a connection between Balinese collective life and this sport.

Odds and even money

It is the formal asymmetry between balanced center bets (bets central to the game) and unbalanced side ones (bets made on the side lines of the game and not between players) that poses the critical analytical problem for a theory which sees cock fight wagering as the link connecting the fight to the wider world of Balinese culture. It also suggests the way to go about demonstrating the link. The center bet, with so much riding on it, makes the ''depth'' of the game (Jeremy Bentham). The Balinese attempt to create an interesting, ''deep'' match by making the center bet as large as possible so that the cocks matched will be as equal and as fine as possible, and the outcome as unpredictable as possible.

The question of why such matches are interesting takes us out of the realm of formal concerns into more broadly sociological and social psychological ones, and to a less purely economic idea of what ''depth'' amounts to.

Playing with Fire

Bentham's concept of ''deep play'' is play in which the stakes are so high that, from a utilitarian stand point, to play is irrational. Nonetheless, men do engage in such play both passionately and often, even in the face of the law (it is against the law in Bali to engage in cock fights). In deep Balinese cock fights, much more is at stake than material gain : status. The more money one risks, the more status one risks.

The big players are the focusing element in these focused gatherings. These men generally dominate and define the sport as they dominate and define the society. What makes the Balinese CF deep is thus not the money itself, but what the money causes to happen: the migration of the Balinese status hierarchy into the body of the cock fight.

The CF is a representation of the complex fields of tension set up by the controlled, ceremonial, deeply felt interaction of male (narcissistic) selves in the context of every day life. The CF is deliberately made to be a simulation of the social matrix, the involved system of cross-cutting, overlapping, highly corporate groups - - villages, kin, etc. -- in which its devotees live.

There is a pattern of tiered hierarchy of status rivalries between highly corporate but variously - based groupings. The cockfight is fundamentally a dramatization of status claims. for instance:

Men never bet against a cock owned by a member of their own kin group
Men involved in highly institutionalized hostility relations will bet against each other
Men avoid betting when loyalties are split
Men involved in the center bet are typically leading members of their group (village, kin group)

The Balinese are fully aware of the symbolism in their cock fights.
The more a match is between near-status individuals, the deeper the match. The deeper the match, the closer the identification of cock and man. the greater emotion and absorption in the match, the higher the betting, the less an economic and more a status view, and the ''solider'' the citizens will be who will be gaming.

Feathers, blood, crowds and money

Like any art form, the cock fight renders ordinary experience comprehensible by presenting it in terms of acts and objects which have had their practical consequences removed and reduced to the level of sheer appearances, where their meaning can be more powerfully articulated. The CF puts a construction on death, masculinity, rage, pride, chance, etc. the function of the CF is a means of expression neither to assuage social passions nor to heighten them, but to display them.

The importance of the CF is not, as functionalist sociology would have it, that it reinforces status discriminations, but that it provides a methodological social commentary upon the whole matter of assorting human beings into fixed hierarchical ranks and then organizing the major part of collective existence around that assortment. Its function is interpretive.

Saying something of something

Reading cultural practice as text: the Balinese, by attending a CF, learns what his cultures ethos and his private sensibility look like when spelled out externally in a collective text; that the two are near enough alike to be articulated in the symbolics of such a text; and -- the disquieting part -- that the text in which this revelation is accomplished consists of a chicken hacking another mindlessly to bits. Not only does the CF bring the assorted experiences of everyday life into focus, but it creates the paradigmatic human event -- one that tells us less what happens than the kind of thing that would happen if life were art and could be freely shaped by styles of feeling. Yet art regenerates the very subjectivity it pretends to display. CF's are positive agents in the maintenance of such a sensibility. (WAIT!!! I THOUGHT GEERTZ SAID THE COCK FIGHT SHOULDN'T BE VIEWED FROM A FUNCTIONALIST STAND POINT!???!! -EA).
Anyhow, one way to look at the symbolic forms of the culture of a people is as an ensemble of texts. To ''say something of something'' to someone is at least to open up the paths of analysis which attend to their substance.

''Religion as a Cultural System.''

I. The culture concept to which Geertz adheres denotes a historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.

II. A paradigm consists of sacred symbols which function to synthesize a people's ethos -- the tone, character, and quality of their life, its moral and aesthetic style -- and their world view. A paradigm is presented as representing/accommodating an actual state of affairs. It objectivizes moral and aesthetic preferences by depicting them as the imposed conditions of life implicit in a world with a particular structure. It supports received beliefs about the world's body by invoking deeply felt moral and aesthetic sentiments as experiential evidence for their truth.

How does religion tune human actions to an envisaged cosmic order and project images of cosmic order onto the plane of human experience?

Religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish a powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

''A system of symbols which acts to...''

A symbol is used for any object, act, event, quality, or relation which serves as a vehicle for a meaning. Cultural patterns are social events. The symbolic dimension of social events is itself theoretically abstractable from these events as empirical totalities.
Culture patterns are extrinsic sources of info. They are models ''for'' and ''of''. They have an intrinsic double aspect: they give meaning to social and psychological reality both by shaping themselves to it and by shaping it themselves. Symbols can also be models ''of'' and models ''for'''
Two dispositions are motivated by religious activity: motivation and moods. Motivation is a persisting tendency, a chronic inclination to perform certain sorts of acts and experience certain sorts of feelings. Motivations are directional. Moods go nowhere. they vary only as to their intensity and they are induced by sacred symbols. We interpret motives in terms of their consummations, but we interpret moods in terms of their sources.

''By formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and...''

Religion must affirm something. Man depends on symbol systems with a dependence so great as to be decisive for his ''creatural viability,'' and as a result, his sensitivity to even the remotest indication that they may prove unable to cope with one or another aspect of experience raises within him great anxiety.
First of all, men seek out lucidity and experience anxiety when empirical phenomena don't make sense. The conviction that ''the odd'' can be accounted for must be sustained. Second, there is the problem of suffering. The question is HOW to suffer. Religion on one hand anchors the power of our symbolic resources for formulating analytic ideas in an authoritarian conception of the overall shape of reality; on the other hand it anchors the power of our resources for expressing emotions. This helps humans resist the challenge of emotional meaninglessness from pain. Third, religion helps men deal with evil. Our symbolic resources provide us with a workable set of ethical criteria and normative guides to govern our action. It responds to the disquieting sense that one's moral insight is inadequate to one's moral experience. The problem of evil is in essence the same sort of problem as bafflement or suffering -- NO ORDER.
The religious response to each case is the formulation, by means of symbols, of an image of such a genuine order of the world which will account for the ambiguities of human experience. The effort behind religion is not to deny the undeniable, but to deny the inexplicable, through symbols.

''And clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that...''

How is it that the denial mentioned above comes to be believed? Religious belief involves a prior acceptance of authority which transforms that experience. The religious perspective is ''he who would know must first believe.'' This perspective differs from the common sense perspective in that it moves beyond the realities of everyday life to wider ones which correct and complete them, and its defining concern is not action upon those wider realities , but of acceptance and faith in them. The religious perspective differs from the scientific perspective in that it questions the realities of every day life in terms of non-hypothetical truths. It differs from the aesthetic perspective in that it deepens concern with fact and seeks to create an aura of actuality.
It is in ritual - consecrated behavior - that the conviction that religious directives are sound is generated. It is in ceremonial form that moods and motivations which sacred symbols induce in men and the general conceptions of the order of existence which they formulate -- reinforce one another. Religious acts for participants are enactment's, materializations of religion -- not only models of what they believe, but also models for the believing of it. The acceptance of authority that underlies the religious perspective that the ritual embodies flows from the enactment of the ritual itself.

''that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic''

Religion is sociologically interesting not because, as vulgar positivism would have it, it describes the social order, but because it shapes it. The movement back and forth between the religious perspective and the common sense perspective is actually often ignored by social anthropologists. Religious belief in the midst of ritual, where it engulfs the total person and as a remembered reflection of that experience in the midst of everyday life are distinct. Religion alters the whole landscape presented to common sense, alters it in such a way that the moods and motivations induced by religious practice seem themselves supremely practical, the only sensible ones to adopt given the way things ''really'' are. Hence, religion changes man and his common sense perspective.
It is the particularity of the impact of religious systems upon social systems which renders general assessments of the value of religion in either moral or functional terms impossible.

III. Religious concepts spread beyond their specifically metaphysical contexts to prove a framework of general ideas in terms of which a wide range of experiences can be given a meaningful form. A set of religious beliefs is a gloss (makes them graspable) and a template (shapes them) for the mundane world of social relationships and psychological events

Tracing the social and psychological role of religion is a matter of understanding how it is that men's notions of the ''real'' induce in them and color their sense of the practical and the moral.
The anthropological study of religion is two -stage:
1)analysis of the system of meanings embodied in the symbols which make up religious power 2)the relating of these systems to social structural and psychological processes.
Only when we have a theoretical analysis of symbolic action comparable in sophistication to what we now have for social and psychological action, will we be able to cope effectively with those aspects of social and psychological life in which religion (or art, science, or ideology) plays a determinant role.

Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life

''Interaction Ritual''

Goffman is concerned with the study of social interaction; that is, the countless patterns and natural sequences of behavior occurring whenever persons come into one another's immediate presence. This is not the study of the individual and his/her psychology. Rather, it is the syntactical relations among the acts of different persons mutually present to one another.

Chapter 1: On Face-Work

A line is a pattern of verbal and nonverbal acts by which a person expresses his/her view of a situation and his/her evaluation of the participants, including him/herself.

Face is the positive social value a person effectively claims for him/herself by the line others assume s/he has taken during a particular contact. It is an image of self delineated in terms of approved social attributes. A person becomes attached to his\her face (Goffman actually uses the word ''cathects'') and therefore s/he considers participation in any contact with others a type of commitment.

To have, to be in, or to maintain face means a line a person effectively takes presents an image of him/her that is internally consistent and supported by other participants.

To be in wrong face occurs when a person's social worth cannot be integrated into the line that is being sustained for him/her. To be out of face means a person participates in a contact with others without having ready a line of the kind participants in such situations are expected to take. both of these situations usually cause the person to feel ashamed or inferior. Poise is the capacity to suppress and conceal any tendency to become shamefaced during encounters with others.

An expressive order is an order that regulates the flow of events so that anything that appears to be expressed by them will be consistent with the person's face.

A person is not only expected to have self-respect by maintaining his/her own face, s/he is also expected to sustain a standard of considerateness during an encounter with another person to save the feelings and face of that other person.

The maintenance of face is a condition of interaction, not its objective. To study face-saving is to study the traffic rules of social interaction; one learns about the code a person adheres to in his/her movement across the paths and designs of others, but not where s/he is going, or why s/he wants to get there.

Face-work means the actions taken by a person to make whatever s/he is doing consistent with face. All members of society are expected to have some knowledge of face-work and some experience in its use. This is called tact, savoir-faire, diplomacy, or social skill.

Goffman distinguishes between two basic kinds of face-work:
1) The avoidance process: to prevent threats to his/her face, a person simply avoids contacts in which these threats are likely to occur.
2) The corrective process: when a person fails to save face, s/he is likely to try to correct for the effects of this incidence. An interchange is a sequence of acts set in motion by an acknowledged threat to face. There are four elements in an interchange:
a) the challenge: participants call attention to the misconduct
b) the offering: the offender is given a chance to correct for the offense and reestablish the expressive order
c) acceptance: the persons to whom the offering is made can accept it as a satisfactory means of reestablishing the expressive order
d) sign of gratitude: the forgiven person is thankful to those who have given him/her the indulgence of forgiveness

Sometimes an encounter between people is less a scene of mutual considerateness in maintaining face-work, but rather a contest whose purpose is to preserve everyone's line from inexcusable contradictions while at the same time scoring as many points as possible against one's adversaries (e.g. digs, snubs, bitchiness, etc.). Often when face has been threatened, people cooperate to do face-work and thereby save the situation. Resolution of the situation to everyone's apparent satisfaction is the first requirement; correct apportionment of blame is typically a secondary consideration. Examples of this cooperation are social etiquette, polite hints, and reciprocal self-denial (when the person compliments others first to get attention temporarily away from him/herself).

The Self:

Goffman uses a double definition of self: the self as an image pieced together from the expressive implications of the full flow of events in an undertaking; and the self as a kind of player in a ritual game. The rules of social interaction rely on a system of checks and balances by which each participant tends to be give the right to handle only those matters which he will have little motivation for mishandling. The rights and obligations of an interactant are designed to prevent him/her from abusing his/her role as an object of sacred value.

Spoken Interaction:
There is a functional relationship between the structure of the self and the structure of spoken interaction. A person determines how s\he ought to conduct him\herself during an occasion of talk by testing the potentially symbolic meaning of his/her acts against the self-images that are being sustained. In doing this, s/he incidentally subjects her/his behavior to the expressive order that prevails and contributes to the orderly flow of messages. His/her aim is to save face; his/her effect is to save the situation. The person's orientation to face is the point of leverage that the ritual order has in regard to him/her; yet a promise to take ritual care of his/her face is built into the very structure of talk.

Human Nature:
Societies everywhere must mobilize their members as self-regulating participants in social encounters. One way of doing this is through ritual. A person is taught to be perceptive, to have feelings attached to self and a self expressed through face, to have pride, honor, and dignity, to have considerateness, to have tact and a certain amount of poise. These elements of behavior which must be built into the person if practical use is to be made of him/her as an interactant constitute a universal human nature. A person becomes a kind of construct, built up form moral rules that are impressed upon him/her from outside, from social encounters.

Chapter 2: The Nature of Deference and Demeanor

In this chapter, Goffman tries to reformulate a version of Durkheim's social psychology mentioned in the Elementary Forms of Religious Life. He explores the ways in which a person in our urban secular world is allotted a kind of sacredness that is displayed and confirmed by symbolic acts. Durkheim wrote that the individual's personality can be seen as one apportionment of the collective mana, and that rites performed to representations of the social collectivity will sometimes be performed to the individual him/herself. Two examples of these rites are deference and demeanor. Goffman uses data collected from observations of mental patients to elaborate on these points.

A rule of conduct is a guide of action that is suitable or just. Attachment to rules leads to a constancy and patterning of behavior. Rules of conduct impinge upon the individual in two ways: directly as obligations, establishing how s/he is morally constrained to conduct him/herself; and indirectly, as expectations, establishing how others are morally bound to act in regard to him/her. When an individual becomes involved in the maintenance of a rule, s/he tends to become committed to a particular image of self. An act that is subject to a rule of conduct is a communication, for it represents a way in which selves are confirmed. Rules of conduct transform both action and inaction into expression.

There are two classes or rules of conduct:
1) symmetrical: a rule that leads an individual to have obligations or expectations regarding others that these others have in regard to him/her.
2) asymmetrical: rule that leads others to treat and be treated by the individual differently from the way s/he treats and is treated by them

Goffman also distinguished between two types of rules:
1) substantive: rules that guide conduct in regard to matters felt to have significance in their own right
2) ceremonial: rules that have primary importance as a conventionalized means of communication by which people express their character or convey their appreciation to other participant in the situation.
Deference and demeanor are two basic components of ceremonial rules. They illustrate how the self is in part a ceremonial thing, a sacred object which must be treated with proper ritual care and must be presented to others in proper light.

Deference functions as a symbolic means by which appreciation is regularly conveyed to a recipient of this recipient. It has two forms:
1) avoidance rituals: forms of deference which lead the actor to keep at a distance from the recipient and not violate what Simmel has called the ''ideal sphere'' that lies around the recipient.
2) presentational rituals: acts through which the individual makes specific attestations to recipients concerning how s/he regards them (e.g. salutations, invitations, compliments)

Demeanor is conveyed through deportment, dress, and bearing and serves to express that the person is of certain desirable or undesirable qualities. The individual creates an image of him/herself for others.

Deference and demeanor are examples that the Meadian notion that the individual takes toward him/herself the attitude of others is an oversimplification. Rather the individual must rely on others to complete the picture of him/her of which s/he is allowed only to paint certain parts. The urban secular world is not so irreligious as we might think. The individual him/herself remains a deity of considerable importance.

Processing Fads and Fashions: An Organization-Set Analysis of Cultural Industry Systems

I think this is a paper on the organization of the culture industry, rather than a paper on organizational culture. However, it does link up nicely with dudes like Hebdige, and provides a distinctly different perspective on the production of cultural objects than does, say, Geertz.

Organizations engaged in the production and mass distribution of ''cultural'' items are often confronted by highly uncertain environments at their input and output boundaries. They develop three adaptive coping strategies to deal with this uncertainty: the deployment of ''contact men'' to organizational boundaries, overproduction and differential promotion of new items, and cooptation of mass media gatekeepers.

Hirsch thinks analysis of innovation has focussed too little on the throughput sector, consisting of orgs which filter the overflow of information and materials intended for consumers. From an organizational perspective, two questions pertaining to any innovation are logically prior to its appearance in the marketplace: 1) by what criteria is it selected for sponsorship over available alternative? and, 2) might certain characteristics of its organizational sponsor, such as prestige or size of an advertizing budget, substantially aid in explaining the ultimate success or failure of a new product or idea?

Entrepreneurial orgs in cultural industries confront a set of problems interesting to students of interorganizational relations: goal dissensus, boundary-spanning role occupations with nonorganizational norms, legal and value constraints against vertical integration, and, hence, dependence on autonomous agencies (esp mass media gatekeepers) for linking the org to its consumers.

For Hirsch, a cultural organization is a profit-seeking firm producing cultural products for national distribution (ie, Virgin Records, but not the NEA). The cultural industry system is comprised of all orgs engaged in the process of filtering new products and ideas as they flow from creative personnel in the technical subsystem to the managerial, institutional and societal levels of organization (these org levels are from Talcum Powder's work on orgs). Artist and mass audience are linked by an ordered sequence of events: the object dee art must 1) succeed in competition with others for selection and promotion by entrep. orgs and 2) then succeed in receiving mass media coverage in such forms as book-reviews, radio air play, and films criticism.

Cultural organizations constitute the managerial subsystems of the industry systems in which they operate. Cultural industries' technical subsystems are organized along craft lines (from Stinchcombe: location of professionals in the technical subsystem and administrators in the managerial one), and this organization is a function of demand uncertainty and cheap technology. Demand uncertainty is caused by shifts in consumer tastes, legal and normative constraints on vertical integration, and widespread variability in the selection criteria employed by mass media gatekeepers.

Competitive advantage for a cultural org firm lies with firms best able to link available input to reliable and established distribution channels. The mass distribution of cultural items requires more bureaucratic organizational arrangements than the administration of production.

The organizational separation of producers of cultural items from their dissemenators places definite restrictions on the forms of power cultural orgs can exercise over gatekeepers; autonomous gatekeeps present the org with the control problem of favorably influencing the probability that a given new release will be selected for exposure to consumers.

The mass media constitute the institutional subsystem of the cultural industry system. The diffusion of particular fads and fashions is either blocked or facilitated at this strategic checkpoint. Organizations at the managerial level of cultural industry systems are confronted by 1) constraints on output distribution imposed by gatekeeps and 2) contingencies in recruiting ''raw materials'' for organizational sponsorship. To minimize dependence on these elements of their task environments, the three strategies noted above have developed.

1.Contact men. Professional agents on the input boundary (eg, editors who woo authors) must be allowed a great deal of discretion in the activities on behalf of the cultural org, and thus, though essential and duly highly rewarded, pose a control problem. Cultural orgs deploy additional contact men at their output boundaries, linking the org to retail outlets and surrogate consumers in mass-media orgs.

A high ratio of promotional personnel to surrogate consumers (contact men to disk jockeys, for instance) appears to be a structural feature of any industry system in which goods are marginally differentiated, producers' access to consumer markets is regulated by independent gatekeepers, and large scale direct advertising campaigns are uneconomical or prohibited by law.

2. Differential promotion of new items, in conjunction with overproduction. Overproduction is a rational org response in an environment of low capital investment and demand uncertainty. It is more efficient to produce many failures for each success than to sponsor fewer items and pretest each on a massive scale to increase media coverage and sales. Cultural orgs maximize profits by mobilizing promotional resources in support of volume sales for a small no. of items. These resources are not divided equally among a firm's new releases. The strategy of differential promotion is an attempt by cultural orgs to buffer their technical core from demand uncertainties by smoothing out output transactions.

3. Cooptation of institutional regulators. For instance, hit records are featured by radio stations in order to sell advertising. Goal conflict and value dissensus between cultural orgs and gatekeepers are reflected in frequent disputes over the legitimacy and legality of promoters' attempts to acquire power of the decision autonomy of surrogate gatekeepers. Cultural orgs struggle to control gatekeepers to the extent that coverage for new items is 1) crucial for building consumer demand and 2) problematic (eg. Donnie Osmond's new album). Cultural orgs are less likely to deploy boundary agents or sanction high pressure tactics for items whose sale is less contingent on gatekeepers actions (eg, classical music).

Michel Foucault (trans. Robert Hurley)

Focus of the Book

The History of Sexuality: An Introduction is the first of a promised (but not completed) six-volume study of discourses on sexuality. In this volume, Foucault develops an "analytics of power"—the conceptual instruments that make possible the analysis of sex in terms of power. In addition, Foucault argues that power operates not through the repression of sex, but through the discursive production of sexuality and subjects, emphasizing that the power mechanisms of sexuality are socially constructed, unstable, and historically situated.

Part One

We "Other Victorians"

In this section, Foucault explains, and then, raises doubts to the "repressive hypothesis." Foucault begins by illustrating the difference between seventeenth century sexuality, where "codes regulating the coarse, the obscene, and the indecent were quite lax" (3), and nineteenth century sexuality, where "sexuality was carefully confined; it moved into the home" (3). Foucault argues that this Victorian concept of sexuality influences us today, and "the image of the imperial prude is emblazoned on our restrained, mute, and hypocritical sexuality" (3).

Foucault shows that Victorian sexuality required repression which "operated as a sentence to disappear, but also as an injunction to silence, an affirmation of nonexistence" (4). Such "halting logic" was forced to make a few concessions for illegitimate sexualities. These "Other Victorians" were regulated to a separate space of tolerance—"the brothel and the mental hospital" (4).

Repression is the "fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality" (5) and so its disruption comes at considerable cost. Foucault argues that sex is not easily deciphered, but by reconstructing repression we can analyze it. In other words, repression is a factor which brings sex into discourse so we can talk about it. By speaking about sex, one has the appearance of a "deliberate transgression" that places the speaker, to a certain extent, outside the reach of power (6).

Foucault points out that others have argued that repression coincides with the development of capitalism. Sex is repressed because it is incompatible with the work imperative. However, Foucault believes, "the essential thing is not the economic factor, but the existence of a discourse in which sex, the revelation of truth, the overturning of global laws, the proclamations of a new day to come, and the promise of a new felicity are linked together" (7).

Foucault plans to explore the self-awareness of the individual as the subject of sexuality. In his own words, Foucault’s aim is "to examine the case of a society which has been loudly castigating itself for its hypocrisy for more than a century, which speak verbosely of its own silence, takes great pains to relate in detail the things it does not say, denounces the powers it exercises, and promises to liberate itself from the very laws than have made it function. I would like to explore not only these discourses but also the will that sustains them and the strategic intention that supports them" (8).

Foucault raises historical, historico-theoretical, and historico-political doubts to the "repressive hypothesis" (10). Foucault writes that his goal is "aimed less at showing it to be mistaken than at putting it back within a general economy of discourses on sex in modern societies since the seventeenth century" (11).

Foucault outlines his plan for this book; he will define the regime of power-knowledge-pleasure that sustains the discourse on human sexuality. Foucault is interested in the "over-all ‘discursive fact,’ the way in which sex is ‘put into discourse,’" and the "’polymorphous techniques of power’" that influence its formation propagation (11).

Part Two

The Repressive Hypothesis

Chapter One

The Incitement to Discourse

Foucault argues that the seventeenth century was "the beginning of the age of repression" (17). He shows how the steady proliferation of discourses about sex became increasingly precise, especially during confession. Foucault writes, "under the authority of a language that had been carefully expurgated so that it no longer directly named, sex was taken charge of…by a discourse that aimed to allow it not obscurity, no respite" (20).

By transforming desire into discourse, the act of confession gained power over sex. One example Foucault gives is the Christian pastoral which changed desire into discourse; the effect of which was mastery, detachment, and spiritual reconversion of turning back to God (23).

Foucault believes that verbalizing sexual matters might have remained tied to Christianity if it had not been supported and perpetuated by other mechanisms. A "policing of sex" began in the eighteenth century through "useful and public discourses" (25). Foucault discusses this policing through the emergence of "population" as an economic and political problem where society affirmed, through constant observation of the increasing or decreasing population, that "its future and fortune were tied…to the manner in which each individual made use of his sex" (26). Foucault also discusses the policing of children’s sex where "the sex of the schoolboy became…a public problem" that institutions must regulate through space and through discourses (28). Medicine, criminal justice, and couple’s sexuality also "radiated discourses aimed at sex, intensifying people’s awareness of it as a constant danger" (31). This created a greater incentive for people to talk about sex.

Instead of something to do, sex became something to say. This talk, over three centuries, formed a diverse, regulated, multi-centered network (34) for discourse. Power operated not through the repression of sex, but through these discursive productions of sexuality and subjects.

Chapter Two

The Perverse Implantation

Foucault asks if the ultimate objective of the proliferation of discourse on sex has been to constitute a politically conservative, economically useful sexuality. He answers this question by writing "I still do not know if this is the ultimate objective. But this much is certain: reduction has not been the means employed for trying to achieve it" (37). Instead, Foucault argues that the nineteenth century has been the "age of multiplication: a dispersion of sexualities, a strengthening of their disparate forms, a multiple implantation of ‘perversions’" (37).

Up to the end of the eighteenth century, marriage was the central entity "under constant surveillance" (37) and there was little distinction between breaking the rules of marriage and homosexuality, sodomy, incest, etc. This shifted during the next century: "to deceive one’s wife or to violate cadavers, became thing that were essentially different" (39). Offenses were divided between infractions against the legislation (morality) and offenses against the regularity of a natural function.

Instead of prohibiting peripheral sexualities, these sexualities were highlighted, isolated, and incorporated by power different mechanisms, such as medicine, pedagogy, and the law (41). Foucault argues that forms of power were exercised on sex and the body in the following ways:

Foucault ends this section by restating that instead of agencies of power feigning ignorance and avoiding sexuality, these agencies of power have resulted in multiple centers of power as well as increasing attention, circular linkages, and more site sites of pleasure for sex.

Part Three

Scientia Sexualis

Foucault summaries his argument which is by speaking about sex so much and "by discovering it multiplied, partitioned off, and specified precisely where one had placed it, what one was seeking essentially was simply to conceal sex; a screen –discourse, a dispersion-avoidance" (53, italics mine). Also, the discourse on sex has been marked by the neutral viewpoint of "a science of evasions" that did not speak about sex itself, but instead spoke about aberrations and perversions. This science constructed sexual "morality" as the medical norm.

Throughout the 19th century, sex has been incorporated into two distinct orders of knowledge: a biology of reproduction and a medicine of sex (54). There was no exchange, no reciprocal structuration, between these two orders. Foucault believes that this disparity indicates "that the aim of such a discourse was not to state the truth but to prevent its very emergence" (55). Therefore, discourse on sex had a double function: to sustain "systematic blindnesses" and to give "a paradoxical form to a fundamental petition to know" (55). Foucault gives the example of Charcot that shows they immense apparatus around sex for producing truth, "even if this truth was to be masked at the last moment’ (56). Foucault argues that this "interplay of truth and sex" has perpetuated into present day (57).

Foucault argues that their historically has been two procedures for producing truth about sex. Many societies use ars erotica, or erotic art, whereby truth is drawn from pleasure itself. Western society, however, is the only civilization to practice a scientia sexualis, which develops procedures for telling the truth of sex that are geared to a form of knowledge-power found in the confession. Confession is one of the main rituals used for the production of truth; "Western man has become a confessing animal" (59). Foucault writes that "the obligation to confess…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 use that truth, lodged in our most secret nature, ‘demands’ only to surface" (60).

Foucault explains how confession works. Unlike the ars erotica, confessional discourse does not come from above "through the sovereign will of the master" (62) but instead from below. On the other hand, the agency of domination does not reside in the one who speaks, but in the one who listens, says nothing, and questions. Then, this discourse of truth takes effect, "not in the one who receives it, but in the one from whom it is wrested" (62).

Foucault believes that the confession remains "the general standard governing the production of true discourse on sex" (63) although, as time has passed, it has spread and been employed in many different relationships, including pedagogy, family relationships, medicine, and psychiatry.

Foucault argues that this extortion of the sexual confession during the 19th century came to be constituted in scientific terms through:

  1. A clinical codification of the inducement to speak.
  2. The postulate of a general and diffuse causality.
  3. The principle of a latency intrinsic to sexuality.
  4. The method of interpretation.
  5. The medicalization of the effects of confession.

As a result, 19th century society did not refuse to confront sex, but instead, talked about sex a lot and "set out to formulate the uniform truth of sex" (69). Because of this, sex became suspicious and something to be feared. A new form of pleasure emerged—"the pleasure of analysis" and of discovering and exposing the truth about sex (71).

Foucault argues that a hypothesis of a power of repression exerted by our society on sex for economic reasons is inadequate for explaining the proliferation of discourses tailored to power, the solidification of the sexual mosaic, the mandatory production of confessions, and the establishment of a system of legitimate knowledge and of an economy of manifold pleasures. He goes on to argue that the deployment of power and knowledge and truth and pleasure are not secondary and derivative to repression (72-73). Foucault plans to investigate how these mechanisms emerge and operate and "define the strategies of power that are immanent in this will to knowledge" (73).

Part Four

The Deployment of Sexuality

Foucault restates his argument that the West has paradoxically "placed a never-ending demand for truth: it is up to us to extract the truth of sex, since this truth is beyond its grasp; it is up to sex to tell us our truth, since sex is what hold it in darkness" (77).

Foucault points out the historical break between sex as Physics, an activity or dimension of life, and a Logic of Sex, a more recent development where sex became established as an identity (78). Foucault explains sex’s link to identity, writing "Whenever it is a question of knowing who we are, it is this logic that henceforth serves as our master key….Sex, the explanation for everything." (78).

Foucault asks a series of questions, that center around the question "Why this great chase after the truth of sex, truth in sex?" (79).

Foucault states that this section, that discusses the objective, the method, the domain, and the periodizations, will situate the investigations that follow.

Chapter One


Foucault sets out the parameters of the discussion that follows, writing that "the aim of the inquiries that will follow is to move less toward a ‘theory’ of power than toward an ‘analytics’ of power: that is, toward a definition of the specific domain formed by relations of power, and toward a determination of the instruments that will make possible its analysis"" (82). This analytics can only be constituted if it frees itself from the "juridico-discursive" (82). The principle features of this power are

  1. The negative relation. The connection between power and sex is always negative.
  2. The insistence of the rule. This means that sex is placed by power in a binary system, power prescribes an order for sex and power’s hold on sex is maintained through language.
  3. The cycle of prohibition. The objective of this prohibition is that sex renounce itself through the threat of a punishment that is the suppression of sex.
  4. The logic of censorship. This takes three forms: affirming that such a thing is not permitted, preventing it from being said, and denying that it works.
  5. The uniformity of the apparatus. "Power over sex is exercised in the same way at all levels" (84).

Foucault wants to be freed from juridical and negative representation of power, and cease "to conceive them in terms of law, prohibition, liberty, and sovereignty" (90). He writes that "we must construct an analytics of power that not longer takes law as a model and a code" (90).

Instead Foucault plans to works toward a different conception of power through a closer examination of an entire historical material and through a way of thinking that can "conceive of sex without the law, and power without the king" (91). That is, Foucault assumes that modern societies have not governed sexuality through law, but through a "technology of sex" (90).

Chapter Two


Foucault’s analysis of knowledge regarding sex is in terms of power, not in terms of repression of law. This analysis must not assume the sovereignty of the state, the form of the law, or the general system of domination of one group over the other. These are only the terminal forms power takes.

Instead, Foucault believes that "Power must be understood…as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization" (92). Foucault establishes the omnipresence of power, writing that "Power is everywhere; not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere….power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society" (93).

Foucault advances five propositions of power, which are:

  1. "Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away; power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of nonegalitarian and mobile relations" (94).
  2. "Relations of power are not in a position of exteriority with respect to other types of relations (economic, knowledge, sexual), but are immanent in the latter" (94). Relations of power are also "not in superstructural positions, with merely a role of prohibition or accompaniment; they have a directly productive role, whenever they come into play" (94).
  3. "Power comes from below; that is, there is no binary and all-encompassing opposition between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations" (94).
  4. "Power relations are both intentional and nonsubjective" (94). They are "imbued with calculation: there is no power that is exercised without a series of aims and objectives" (95) yet at the same time, "this does not mean that it results from the choice or decision of an individual subject" (95). The logic of power can be clear but oftentimes the inventor or formulator cannot be identified.
  5. "Where there is power, there is resistance and yet this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power" (95).

Foucault argues that this sphere of force relations much serve as the basis for analysis of the mechanisms of power. He restates that this analysis should decipher power mechanism "on the basis of strategy that is immanent in force relationships" instead of trying to identify a specific source (97).

Foucault states that the important question for sex and the discourses of truth is: "In a specific type of discourse on sex, in a specific form of extortion of truth, appearing historically and in specific places, what were the most immediate, the most local power relations at work? How did they make possible these kinds of discourses, and conversely how were these discourse used to support power relations?" (97).

Foucault does not want to identify a "great Power," but instead wants to "immerse the expanding of production of discourses on sex in the field of multiple and mobile power relations" (98). With this goal in mind, Foucault advances four rules to follow, which are the:

  1. Rule of immanence. Foucault believes that we should not look for one certain sphere of sexuality for scientific inquiry. Instead, start an inquiry with the "’local centers’ of power-knowledge" (98).
  2. Rule of continual variations. Foucault argues that we should not look to who has the power in the order of sexuality and who is deprived of it, but rather to "the pattern of the modifications which the relationships of force imply by the very nature of their process" (99). Relations of power-knowledge are not static forms of distribution, they are "matrices of transformations" (99).
  3. Rule of double conditioning. Foucault believes that "No ‘local center’ or ‘pattern of transformation’ could function if it did not eventually enter into an overall strategy. And inversely, no strategy could achieve comprehensive effects if it did not gain support from precise and tenuous relations serving as its prop and anchor point" (99).
  4. Rule of the tactical polyvalence of discourses. Foucault wants to see discourse as "a series of discontinuous segments whose tactical function is neither uniform nor stable" (100). He does not image discourse divided between accepted discourse and excluded discourse, but instead as a "multiplicity of discursive elements that can come into play in various strategies" (100). Foucault believes that discourse can be an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a point of resistance, and a starting point for an opposing strategy.

Foucault writes that we need to question the discourses on sex, not on the model based on law, but on two other levels: tactical productivity and strategical integration.

Chapter Three


Foucault argues that sexuality is a dense transfer point for relations of power: "between men and women, young and old, parents and offspring, teachers and students, priests and laity, and an administration and population" (103). Beginning in the 18th century four strategic unities have formed specific mechanisms of knowledge and power centering on sex:

  1. A hysterization of women's bodies
  2. A pedagogization of children's sex
  3. A socialization of procreative behavior
  4. A psychiatrization of perverse behavior

Four figures emerged form this mechanisms: The hysterical woman, the masturbating child, the Malthusan couple, and the perverse adult.

These strategies also led to the "production of sexuality" (105). Relations of sex thus gave rise to two systems: the deployment of alliance (a system of marriage, a fixation of kinship ties) and the deployment of sexuality. Foucault distinguishes the two, writing "The deployment of alliance is built around a system of rules defining the permitted and the forbidden…whereas the deployment of sexuality operates according to mobile, polymorphous, and contingent techniques of power" (106). The deployment of alliance works toward producing the interplay of relations and maintaining the law that governs them. One the other hand, "the deployment of sexuality engenders a continual extension of areas and forms of control" (106). Foucault argues that the deployment of sexuality was constructed on the basis of a deployment of alliance (107).

Foucault goes on to show that "the family is the interchange of sexuality and alliance: it conveys the law and the juridical dimension in the deployment of sexuality, and it conveys the economics of pleasure and the intensity of sensations in the regime of alliance" (108). Foucault writes that "the family is the most active site of sexuality" (109) giving it a necessary, paradoxical relationship of solicitation and refusal with incest.

Since the 17th century sexuality has moved from the fringes of the family to the focus of the family. Foucault argues "parents and relatives became the chief agents of a deployment of sexuality which drew it outside support from doctors, educators and later psychiatrists" (110). The family was a major part of sexualization. Abnormal figures of sexuality emerged. Experts, who would listen, developed.

Charcot offers a tension to this process because, upon receiving patients, he separated them from their families in an effort to deal with sexuality scientifically. Psychoanalysis used a similar method. Yet these efforts reaffirmed alliances to the family.

Chapter Four


Foucault argues that the chronology of the techniques relating to sex in the fields of medicine, pedagogy, and demography do not coincide with "the great repressive cycle" of sexuality between the 17th and 20th century (115). Instead, Foucault’s first argument is that there was a perpetual inventiveness, a steady growth of methods and procedures in pedagogy, medicine and economics.

Secondly, Foucault argues that the deployment of sexuality was not established as a principle of limitation of the pleasures of others by the ruling classes. Rather the first deployment of sexuality occurred within the upper classes; Foucault writes, "the most rigorous techniques were formed and, more particularly, applied first, with the greatest intensity, in the economically privileged and politically dominant classes" (120). For a long time, the working classes escaped the deployment of "sexuality" although they were subjugated to the deployment of alliances.

Foucault uses these "chronological reminders" to show that "the primary concern was not the repression of the sexuality of the classes to be exploited, but rather the vigor, longevity, progeniture, and descent of the classes that ‘ruled’" (123). Foucault writes, "It was a question of techniques for maximizing life" (123). A political ordering of life was formed, "not through the enslavement of others, but through an affirmation of self" (123).

Foucault goes on to link sexuality with the 18th century bourgeois. He argues the aristocracy asserted the special character of the body through blood; "the bourgeoisie’s ‘blood’ was sex" (124). Foucault traces sexuality to the proletariat through "economic emergencies" and then shows how that body and sexuality was kept under surveillance (126). Foucault concludes the discussion, writing "Sexuality then is originally, historically bourgeois, and in its successive shifts and transpositions, it induces specific class effects" (127).

Foucault summarizes his argument on the deployment of sexuality in the final paragraphs, highlighting the theory of repression (which expanded the entire deployment of sexuality, framing it as taboo) and psychoanalysis (which linked law and desire, and relieved the effect of the taboo).

Part Five

Right of Death and Power Over Life

Foucault begins by historicizing the right to decide life and death as one of the characteristic privileges of the sovereign power, and then traces a shift from "the old power of death that symbolized sovereign power" (139) to "the administration of bodies and calculated management of life" (140). Foucault summarizes this shift when he writes "the ancient right to take life or let live was replaced by a power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death" (138).

Starting in the 17th century, Foucault argues that the power over life evolved in two basic forms, which are not antithetical: an anatomo-politics of the human body (the body as a machine) and a bio-politics of the population (regulatory controls on the body) (139). Anatomo-and bio-politics of power created techniques of power that were present at every level of the social body and used by diverse institutions.

Foucault goes on to distinguish "bio-history" from "bio-power" which designates what "brought life and its mechanisms into the realm of explicit calculations and made knowledge-power an agent of the transformation of human life" (143).

Foucault uses this train of evidence to argue that sex became a political issue. He writes that sex was located "at the pivot of the two axes long which developed the entire political technology of life" (145) with a whole series of tactics combined in different ways. These axes are the disciplines of the body and the regulation of populations. Sex offered access to the life of the body and to the life of the species.

The politics of sex revolved around the four issues, or "four great lines of attack" (146), discussed in Part Four, Chapter Three. These issues (of the hysterical woman, the sexualization of children, etc.) lay at the juncture of the ''body'' and the ''population.'' At this juncture, "sex became a crucial target of a power organized around the management of life rather than the menace of death" (147).

Foucault argues that "the blood relation long remained an important element in the mechanism of power" because "blood was a reality with a symbolic function" (147). However, over time our societies have gone from "the symbolics of blood to an analytics of sexuality" (148).

Foucault offers possible counter-arguments to his position, writing that his critics might say that he offers "only groundless effects, ramifications without roots, a sexuality without sex" (151). Foucault refutes this argument, stating that his purpose in this study is to "show how deployments of power are directly connected to the body" (151), and by arguing that sex is not an autonomous agency that produces sexuality, but instead "sex is the most speculative, most ideal, and most internal element in a deployment of sexuality organized by power in its grip on bodies and their materiality, their forces, energies, sensations, and pleasures" (155). Foucault states that in order to work against the deployment of sexuality, the rallying point "ought not to be sex-desire, but bodies and pleasure" (157).

Foucault ends his discussion by emphasizing that the power mechanisms of sexuality are socially constructed, unstable, and historically situated. He muses of a day when another civilization will emerge that will not understand how a civilization could be so intent and patient in exacting the truth of sex. In this "different economy of bodies and pleasures, people will not longer quite understand how the ruses of sexuality, and the power that sustains its organization, were able to subject us to that austere monarchy of sex, so that we became dedicated to the endless task of forcing its secret, or exacting the truest confessions from its shadow" and from "having us believe that our ‘liberation’ is in the balance" (159).

Critical Commentary

Kurzweil, Edith. A Review of "The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction" by

Michel Foucault. Theory and Society. Vol. 8, No. 3. (November 1979): 422-425.

"Many of Foucault’s insights and epigrammatic formulations help convince us not only that he is correct, but that his ideas may initiate change. Still, unlike the French, we are unaccustomed to ‘hear’ silent discourse, or to find secrecy in ‘unwritten’ texts. Nor are we disposed to think of sex as an especially dense transfer point for relations of power, as an intractable element in such relations, or as a linchpin for the most varied strategies.

The reader’s acceptance of The History of Sexuality then, will depend upon his [sic] tolerance for structuralist textual analysis and abstractions. Undoubtedly, Foucault alliterations and metaphors at times make better sound than sense. Brillant insights are mixed with mystifications" (425).

Vera, Hernan. A Review of "The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction." By

Michel Foucault. Contemporary Sociology. Vol. 8, No. 4. (July 1979): 589-590.

"The approach he follows—that of raising issues and then shunting them aside as beside the point, non-crucial etc.—coupled with a decentered, and at times playful, writing style may tend to be confusing. This idiosycratic tactic, however, also serves to highlight the originality of Foucault’s conceptulizations and provacative speculative insights.

….Even though Foucualt’s methods (‘archival’ as he calls them in The Archeology of Knowledge) defy conventional canons of research, this speculative essay deserves serious reading" (589-590).

Prepared by Jennifer Novak