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Foucault and the KamasutraThe Courtesan, the Dandy, and the Birth of Ars Erotica as Theater in India$
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Sanjay K. Gautam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226348308

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226348582.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 March 2020

Foucault and the Notion of Ars Erotica: Pleasure as Desubjectivation

Foucault and the Notion of Ars Erotica: Pleasure as Desubjectivation

(p.20) 1 Foucault and the Notion of Ars Erotica: Pleasure as Desubjectivation
Foucault and the Kamasutra

Sanjay K. Gautam

University of Chicago Press

Chapter One sets up some of the main themes of the book by way of an exploration into Foucault’s contrast between scientia sexualis or science of sexuality and ars erotica or erotic arts in the first volume of his History of Sexuality. It discusses the significance of Foucault’s claim that while in scientia sexualis truth and self are the sovereign categories, in ars erotica, in contrast, pleasure acquires sovereignty over truth and self. Significantly, pleasure was Foucault’s own critical ground from which he approached scientia sexualis. The author then pursues Foucault’s most important characterization of pleasure as an event of desubjectivation as loss of the sense of the self. Since Foucault did not elaborate on it, there is a great deal of confusion on the precise meaning of desubjectivation amongst Foucault scholars. In the absence of a ready historical archive of ars erotica in western cultures, Foucault’s own experiences often functioned as a personal archive for his reflections on the nature and process of the event and experience of pleasure. The chapter focuses on a number of such experiences as described by Foucault himself or reported by others to bring out the precise mechanics and process of its production.

Keywords:   ars Erotica, desubjectivation, erotics, Foucault, identity, pleasure spiral, scientia sexualis, sexual-erotic pleasure, sexuality, truth

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