From: Kevin Turner <kevin.turner@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 00:07:12 -0800
> Therefore, Foucault refused to impose "sexuality" onto Greeks and
> Romans, not speaking of the "Greco-Roman experience of sexuality" or
> things like that.
True, but he does talk about the "Greco-Roman experience of aphrodisia" or "the Christian experience of the 'flesh,' and he talks about these as being the condition of possibility for 'the formation and development of the experience of sexuality from the eighteenth century onward.' The fact still remains that he is not referring to subjective experience, but nor is he talking about experience as a historical process (i.e. in Hegelian terms). Rather, experience is a means of rendering certain historical processes intelligible, and rendering them intelligibly by way of a history of the relations that have obtained between subjectivity and truth.
> "Sexuality," "madness," etc., or "economy," etc., may one day cease to
> exist, and we may consider under what historical conditions they will
> cease to be intelligible. But till then these historically
> constituted domains of practice will rule our social relations in ways
> that are not subject to conscious individual choice. As a matter of
> fact, even as we speak now, "sexuality," for instance, is likely to be
> becoming an intelligible experience for larger proportions of people
> in the world than before.
but that does not mean that sexuality exists - it is not a pre-given object (as Foucault says of madness: 'We can certainly say that madness "does not exist," but this does not mean that it is nothing', STP: 118), but is, as you say, an "historically
constituted domains of practices."
And writing about sexuality as a "historically singular form of experience" is precisely the means by which Foucault attempted to analyse and describe these practices: of how sexuality became an object of knowledge, and object of political intervention, an object of self reflection for a subject capable of knowing sexuality, of acting upon others in terms of their sexuality, of forming a relation with oneself in terms of ones sexuality.