Power, Freedom, and Individuality: Foucault and Sexual Difference
Author: Rozmarin, Miri
Source: Human Studies, Volume 28, Number 1, March 2005 , pp. 1-14(14)
Abstract:This paper offers a detailed account of Foucaults ethical and political notion of individuality as presented in his late work, and discusses its relationship to the feminist project of the theory of sexual difference. I argue that Foucaults elaboration of the classical ethos of care for the self opens the way for regarding the I-woman as an ethical, political and aesthetic self-creation. However, it has significant limitations that cannot be ignored. I elaborate on two aspects of Foucaults avoidance of sexual difference as a relevant category for an account of political and ethical individuality, which thus implicitly associates individual agency with men. I argue that Foucault implicitly assumes the existence of an ontological desire to become engaged in political self-creation. However, the ethical position of self-knowledge and desire should be understood as a contingent option that depends on material and historical conditions for its realization. Hence, I argue that a feminist reworking of Foucaults notion of political individuality should add a substantial ethical condition to the imperative of self-knowledge and self-creation making possible the desiring woman subject.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2005-03-01