Bodies and Pleasures

Bodies and Pleasures

Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization
Ladelle McWhorter
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/22/1999
Format: Paperback 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21325-9
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Sexual identities are dangerous, Michel Foucault tells us. Categories of desire harden into stereotypes by which the forces of normalization hold us and judge us. In Bodies and Pleasures, Ladelle McWhorter reads Foucault from an original and personal angle, motivated by the differences this experience has made in her life. At the same time, her analysis advances discussion of key issues in Foucault scholarship: the genealogical critique, the status of the subject and humanism, essentialism versus social construction, and the relationships between identity, community, and political action. Weaving her own experience of coming to grips with her lesbian sexual identity into her readings of Foucault's most recent writings on sexuality and power, McWhorter argues compellingly that Foucault's texts should be read less for the arguments they advance and more for their transformative effect. By exploring bodies and pleasures—gardening, line dancing, or doing philosophy, for example—McWhorter shows that it isn't necessary to conform with socially recognized sexual identities. Bodies and Pleasures takes the reader beyond unexplored norms and imposed identities as it points the way toward a personal politics, ethics, and style that challenges our sexual selves.

Author Bio

Ladelle McWhorter is Associate Professor of
Philosophy and Women's Studies and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Richmond. Her previous publications include an edited volume entitled Heidegger and the Earth: Essays in Environmental Philosophy and articles on Foucault, Bataille, and feminist and queer theory. She grows her own tomatoes and is well known as a
line dancer.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Foucault's Impact: Challenges and Transformations
Ch. 1: Views from the Site of Political Oppression: Or, How I served as an Anchor Point for Power and Emerged as a Locus of Resistance
Ch. 2: Genealogical Diversions: Wherein the Ascetic Priestess Loses Her Way and Begins to Wander Aimlessly Through Dem Ole Cotton Fields Back Home
Ch. 3: Why I Shouldn't Like Foucault... So They Say
Ch. 4: Disorientation: Or, Beyond Sex-Desire
Ch. 5: Natural Bodies: Or, Ain't Nobody Here But Us Deviants
Ch. 6: Self-Overcoming Through Ascetic Pleasures
Ch. 7: Counterattack: An Ethics of Style