Pandora Unbound: A Feminist Critique of Foucault's History of Sexuality<sup>†</sup>

Lin Foxhall

in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748613199
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651016 | DOI:
Pandora Unbound: A Feminist Critique of Foucault's History of Sexuality†

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The influence of Michel Foucault's writings on sexuality, especially The History of Sexuality (1978–1986) on subsequent studies of sexuality, gender and the discourses of power and oppression, has been profound. In particular, Foucault has revolutionised the study of the social history of classical antiquity, where, with fifth–fourth century bc Athens, he ultimately decided to begin his investigations. He provides an analytical framework that can be expanded to explore the implications of sex and gender in the whole of social life. Foucault fashioned his analytical ‘techniques’ over a lifetime of archaeology, genealogy and ethics. This chapter presents a feminist critique of his History of Sexuality, and re-evaluates sexuality as a part of personal and political identity through the social acts of constructing gender, whose meanings change with context. It also examines the concepts of time and monumentality, the constitution and political construction of households, and how sexuality is related to socialisation and power.

Keywords: Michel Foucault; sexuality; History of Sexuality; gender; power; oppression; households; socialisation; time; monumentality

Chapter.  6813 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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