4. Deployment of Sexuality
 Knowledge-pleasure
 Demand for the truth of sex
 Annex sex to the field of rationality
 Sex as the explanation for everything (78)
Technologies of power /
power as law
 Negative relation: power can only say “no” to sex
 Insistence of the rule: order maintained through language
or discourse
 Cycle of prohibition: thou shalt not
 Logic of censorship: affirming what is not permitted,
preventing it from being said, denying that it exists
 Uniformity of the apparatus: the same at all levels (84)
Method / Power
 Power as a system – power is everywhere and comes from
 Power is exercised from innumerable points (94)
 Power relations are immanent in all other relationships
 Power comes from below
 Where there is power, there is resistance, but resistance is
never exterior to power
In discourse power and
knowledge are joined
 Discourse can be both an instrument and an effect of
power, but also a point of resistance and a starting point
for an opposing strategy
 Discourses on homosexuality in psychiatry, jurisprudence,
and literature made possible the formation of
 A REVERSE DISCOURSE: homosexuality began to
speak in its own behalf
 Using the same categories by which it was medically
Reverse Discourse
 There is not, on one side, a discourse of power, and
opposite it, another discrouse that runs counter to it.
 Discourses are tactical elements or blocks operating in the
field of force relations
 They can… circulate without changing their form from
one strategy to another, opposing strategy. (102)
Sexuality as a tool
Mechanisms of knowledge and power
centering on sex
 1. hysterization of women’s bodies
 2. pedagogization of children’s sex
 3. socialization of procreative behavior
 4. psychiatrization of perverse pleasure
1. hysterization of women’s bodies
 Feminine body thoroughly saturated with sexuality
 Organically connected to social body & life of children
 The Mother vs. negative image of “nervous woman”
 Target for knowledge = hysterical woman
2. pedagogization of
children’s sex
 Premature sexuality as both natural and contrary to nature
 Parents, educators, doctors, psychologists must be alert
 Dangerous sexual potential must be controlled
 War against onanism lasting nearly two centuries
 Target of knowledge = the masturbating child
The war on onanism
The Consequences of Masturbation, from R. L.
Rozier's The Secret Vice, or Women's
Masturbation, 1822
3. socialization of
procreative behavior
 Incitements and restrictions brought to bear on fertility of
 “Responsibilization” of couples (ever heard of
“responsible procreation?)
 Target of knowledge = Malthusian couple
Thomas Robert Malthus
 British economist who wrote An
Essay on the Principle of Population
(1798), arguing that population tends
to increase faster than food supply,
with inevitably disastrous results,
unless the increase in population is
checked by moral restraints or by
war, famine, and disease.
4. psychiatrization of
perverse pleasure
 Anomalies in sexuality are clinically analyzed
 All behaviors were normalized or pathologized
 Corrrective technologies sought for these anomalies
 Target of knowledge = perverse adult (105)
 Exclusive promotion of adult marital sexuality
 State management of marriages, births, life expectencies
 Theory of degenerescence:
 Heredity of various maladies produces sexual pervert
 Sexual perversion resulted in depletion of one’s line of
 Perversion – heredity – degenerescence (118)
 All are problematized first for bourgeois families
 Working classes long escape the deployment of
Era of bio-power
 Power over life, the body as a machine
 Species body – biopolitics of the population, vitality of
the social body
 Power whose highest function was no longer to kill, but to
invest life through and through
 birth-rate, longevity, public health, housing, migration
Racism in its modern form
 State control
 Purity of the blood, triumph of the race
 Eugenic ordering of society
 Exaltation of superior blood
 Systematic genocide of others