Analysis Of ' Foucault And ' Queer Theory '

1211 WordsJan 23, 20175 Pages
In Foucault and Queer Theory Spargo defines queer theory as a nebulous group of cultural criticism and analysis of social power structures relating to sexuality . It is these power structures and aspects of culture that are responsible for the discourse that creates and informs ones understanding of gender, race, and sexuality. However these aspects of identity do not exist separately from one another, but are constructed in tandem throughout history. These layers of identity inform each other in a way that is difficult if not impossible to separate. They do not act independently with an additive effect but intersect constructing their own unique set of experiences and perspectives. In this paper I will be exploring queer theory…show more content…
In the case of Spargo’s interpretation of Foucault the hegemonic ideal sexual subject is that of a straight man, who is presumably white and middle class. According to Foucault the category of homosexual emerged in the 19th century out of the development of the field of sexology, when medicine replaced religion as the primary producer of discourse on sexuality, and enforcer of (hetero)sexual norms . Foucault argues that despite their relative position individuals categorised as homosexual were able to create their own discourse (or counter-discourses) to the narrative on unnaturalness promoted by sexology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thus finding agency within constraining discourses . In this way sexuality and sexual subjects are constructed, understood and questioned through the discourse produced by those individuals and institutions with access to power. Spargo goes on to address some of the criticisms of Foucault and how these failing have been addressed as queer theory has developed. The most significant of these criticism as addressed by Spargo was Foucault’s focus on masculine sexualities . Spargo explores the relationship of the production of sexuality to gender through a discussion of Judith Butler. Butler argues that gender is produced and understood via cultural discourse in the same way as sexuality . Gender according to Butler is
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