Michel Foucault’s “History of Sexuality” is an undertaking in nullification of the was a regulated and polymorphous incitement to discourse (Foucault, ). Incitement to Discourse. In , Foucault asked “how is it that in a society like ours, sexuality is not simply a means of reproducing the species. In Michel Foucault’s “The Incitement to Discourse”, the development of sex as discourse within our society is illustrated beginning in the 17th.

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This only proliferated these sinful thoughts as disdourse would constantly focus on not having sexual ideas that they occurred more and more.

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.

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].

Your email address will not be published. Sex has been the central theme of confession from the Christian penance to the psychiatrist’s couch. 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.

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 foicault itself, for listening, recording, transcribing and re-distributing what is said about it: 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, As a consequence a proliferation of unorthodox sexualities has eventuated.

Dixcourse 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, 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 foudault, censorship and general silencing of sexual discussion.


What are the links between these discourses, these effects of power, and the pleasures that were invested by them?

Use of Silence in Foucault’s “The Incitement to Discourse”

This society conceived a new type of pleasure as it endeavoured to create the homogeneous truth concerning sex: 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. Not simply a means to obtain pleasure and enjoyment? The other becomes the authority who requires the confession in order to arbitrate upon it. 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.

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, Foucault desired to trace the thread through so many centuries that has linked sex and the search to identify the truth for our societies.

On page 27, Foucault launches into a brief discussion surrounding the use and implications of silence, pushing readers to the idea that what is not said is just as important and valuable as what is said.

Further to this he dispels the idea that sexuality has not been the subject of open discourse. Whatever is most difficult to tell we offer up for scrutiny with the greatest precision.

Michel Foucault’s “The Incitement to Discourse” | ENGL – Methods of Literary and Cultural Study

Confession, the examination of the conscience, all the insistence discouurse 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 foucajlt existence and of connecting salvation with the mastery of these obscure movements.

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.

Proudly powered by WordPress. The practice is understood and experienced while pleasure is not defined in relation to the permitted or the forbidden.

As the deliberate absence of explicit language, silence becomes particularly relevant when thinking about the story regarding the farm hand and girl from Lapcourt. Through the confessional process truth and sex have integrated and knowledge of the subject has evolved Smart, Proudly powered by WordPress. Sex has always been the forum where both the future of our species and our “truth” as human subjects is decided.


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. 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.

Sex, albeit hidden we are told, has been the privileged theme of confession from the Christian penance to the present day.

Was there really a rupture between the age of repression and the critical analysis of repression? The confession has spread its effects far and wide; we confess our crimes, our sins, our thoughts and our desires.

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, In conclusion, attempts to restrain or hide sex led to the creation of a constant air of sexuality in our actions and thoughts that we now experience today.

The effect of these analyses was a grid of observations that related to sexual matters. 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, Silence is strategic because when its presence is acknowledged and recognized, people must think about what is not being said, why it is not being said, and who is not saying it.

Foucault exemplifies this with sex by describing how the Catholic church required that you confess your sexual thoughts and desires as sins. Here, Foucault suggests a sense of innocence or normalcy for the man by choosing to explain how this act was something that was not only routine for him, but also for those around him.

Is what first appears to our view really the accentuation or establishment of a regime of sexual repression beginning in the seventeenth century? He argued that there was another tendency that became apparent in the increase of sexual discourse Smart,

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