From: Edy Sukrisno <krisno@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 09:21:49 +0700
>I saw that someone in Indonesia is joining us in this reading. I have
>visited your country, and think Foucault is correct to use Marxist terms
>like "bourgeois", because I have seen increased homogenization over the
>world: the disappearance of indigenous cultures, the fascination with what
>I would call a Pax Americana as free trade breaks down old barriers. People
>seem more interested in watching American soap operas, for example, than in
>Wayung Kulit or Gamelon.
Yes, you're right. Foucault uses some Marxist terms, but not in a rigid
and strict way as French Marxists do. I guess, to a some extent, we can
approach Foucault in the light of Marxism, though it might end up in
confusion.:-) Capitalism (which is often associated with the American
hegemony) is really a revolutionary force destroying local cultures. Well,
it is a historical force, based on Darwinian principle, at work and we
shouldn't cry over the passing traditional cultures.
>However, it was indigenous Indonesian "custom",I believe, not just imported
>from The West, that also had this desire for sex to be compartmentalized,
>"utilitarian and fertile".
Foucault's distinction on *scientiae sexualis* and *ars erotica*, somewhere
in the book, to contrast the "West" and the "East" is more problematic
these days since the imaginative boundaries between the West and the rest
>If we look pr-17th century, in the West, for example, we do not see
>sexuality unconfined, but sexuality untalked about. This is a great deal of
>what Foucault will be discussing: why do we TALK so much about it now? Case
>in point: Bill Clinton's alleged affairs with various women. What DOES that
>have to do with presidential duties such as dealing with Iraq, balancing
>our budget, helping out the International Monetary Fund so that Southeast
>Asia does not collapse, financially, etc.? Clinton's approval ratings,
>after his State of the Union address, for example, make it seem like
>people, despite the media and this Kenneth Starr special prosecutor's
>attention, do NOT care whether he has blow-jobs with whomever and whether
>Hillary is a lesbian.
The urge to talk about sex is stronger now. The more people talk about
sex, the more problems seem to come up. However, this doesn't indicate
that there are no problems when sex is untalked. We just never know. I
suspect that the condition like pre-Victorian era when sex was untalked and
unconfined is some kind of the "ideal type" in the Weberian sense that
>Moving on to page four, however, I have some notes where I think Foucault
>is saying good things: compartmentalizing "non-sanctioned" sex. Yes. And
>then on page five, a word which will appear over and over again:
>"repression" as a "fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality
>since the classical age"...
Perhaps anyone could work on these concepts of power, knowledge, and
sexuality. I believe that Foucault uses the term "power" and "knowledge"
in the context power/knowledge, but I'm rather baffled by the term
sexuality. The definition in the glossary of the book in the Indonesian
translation is less clarifying than confusing.