Foucault: The Repressive Existhesis

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(c) Explain Foucault 's view on "the repressive hypothesis". Discuss whether he believes there is, or has been, repression, what he wants to investigate, and the formation of sexual subjects. Provide examples. Over the years, the society has come across various views of sexuality. The views on sexuality has moved from a period of being freely expressive and open about our sex and sexuality to a period of repression and hypocrisy of such expressions. The repressive views were seen to arise in the 17th century. Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, argues that the history of sexuality since the 17th century has maintained a repressive view, which Foucault refers to as the “repressive hypothesis” (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). This essay will …show more content…
This hypothesis is in parallel with the rise of bourgeoisie in the 17th century (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). Since the rise of bourgeoisie in the 17th century, sex was restricted to being talked about in homes and in private (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). This bourgeoisie class values a firm work ethic and would frown upon wasting energy on other playful activities. This hypothesis is linked with power (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). It has been stated that those with power control discourse; for example, the bourgeoisie decides how sex can be spoken about and who can speak about sex. Thus, the ones with power can control the knowledge we have about …show more content…
Nozick states that when a person is in love, they don’t have the desire to “trade-up” to a different partner (Solomon & Higgins, 1991). “Trading-up” is basically the willingness to change partners – someone to replace your current partner (Solomon & Higgins, 1991). Nozick states that this concept of trading-up does not fit the nature of love (Solomon & Higgins, 1991). He suggests that psychologically, if we were willing to trade up our partner, then we are willing to destroy the “we” that has been formed, and thus are willing to destroy our self. By trading-up, we are technically, giving up a part of ourselves. Nozick states that trading-up is equivalent to engaging in self-destructive behaviour (Solomon & Higgins, 1991). Thus, Nozick highly believes that trading-up does not fit in with the attitude of

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