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Receptive Bodies$
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Leo Bersani

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226579627

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226579931.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Why Sex?

Why Sex?

(p.20) 2 Why Sex?
Receptive Bodies

Leo Bersani

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on Michel Foucault's superficially counter-intuitive attack on what he calls the “repressive hypothesis” concerning sex. The accepted idea, which Foucault sets out to reverse, is that humans have been living, for at least three centuries, in a regime of sexual repression, one in which sex, subjected to general rules of prohibition, censorship, and denial, has been reduced to invisibility and silence. For Foucault, the stakes in the exercise of power are much higher than sexual freedom or sexual repression. He is interested in considerably more than drawing people's attention to the paradoxical relation between the control of our sexuality and the apparent freedom with which we are encouraged to talk about sex.

Keywords:   Michel Foucault, sex, sexual repression, prohibition, censorship, power, sexual freedom, sexuality

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