History of Sexuality

3607 Words15 Pages

| |

A Historical Critique of Homosexual Exclusions from the Armed Forces using the concepts of Michel Foucault

From 1989 to 1999, the time period of the Clinton Administration, a homosexual force entered the American consciousness. Court cases and rhetoric of the 80s incited a discourse in which homosexuality was "re-articulated, re-negotiated, and unmistakably re-repressed" (Davis 3). Supreme Court judgment and actions taken by Congress with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy exemplify theories of sexuality and power expressed in the philosophies of Michel Foucault.

Foucault was a French-born
…show more content…
Foucault saw the importance of the matter to lie in how the discourse on sexuality in our culture has paradoxically produced repression.

Repression in modern society is a complex process. Foucault's work divides pre-modern sexual acts from modern sexual identities and sexualities (Lochrie 86). Foucault explained that the discussion of sexuality itself was restricted in a few areas. After the eighteenth century he noted "an institutional incitement to speak about [sex]... a determination on the part of the agencies of power to hear it spoken about, and to cause it to speak through explicit articulation and endlessly accumulated detail" (18). This proliferation of discourse had the effect of increasing encroachment of state law onto the issue of private sexuality.

Foucault's analysis was considered radical. This aspect of societal repression and subsequent obsession plays an important role in understanding the reactionary political movements concerning homosexuals in the military. This will be examined after a discussion of the functions of sexuality and power.

In The History of Sexuality, this examination also focused on the functions of sexuality and power. He created the term Biopower, which refers to the regulation of subjects by the state. This regulation occurs through "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the
Get Access