An analysis of notion of gender

The main feminist motivation for making this distinction was to counter biological determinism or the view that biology is destiny.

An analysis of notion of gender

References and Further Reading 1. Rather than assuming that the movement of history can be explained by the intentions and aims of individual actors, genealogy investigates the complex and shifting network of relations between power, knowledge and the body which produce historically specific forms of subjectivity.

Thus, genealogy is a form of social critique that seeks to determine possibilities for social change and ethical transformation of ourselves. In such societies, he claims, power was centralized and coordinated by a sovereign authority who exercised absolute control over the population through the threat or open display of violence.

One pole is concerned with the efficient government of the population as a whole and focuses on the management of the life processes of the social body.

It involves the regulation of phenomena such as birth, death, sickness, disease, health, sexual relations and so on. In Discipline and Punish Foucault studies the practices of discipline and training associated with disciplinary power.

He suggests that these practices were first cultivated in isolated institutional settings such as prisons, military establishments, hospitals, factories and schools but were gradually applied more broadly as techniques of social regulation and control.

The key feature of disciplinary power is that it is exercised directly on the body. Disciplinary practices subject bodily activities to a process of constant surveillance and examination that enables a continuous and pervasive control of individual conduct. It is not, however, only the body that disciplinary techniques target.

An analysis of notion of gender

Foucault presents disciplinary power as productive of certain types of subject as well. In other words, perpetual surveillance is internalized by individuals to produce the kind of self-awareness that defines the modern subject.

With the idea that modern power operates to produce the phenomena it targets Foucault challenges the juridical notion of power as law which assumes that power is simply the constraint or repression of something that is already constituted. Foucault links the importance assumed by norms in modern society to the development of the human or social sciences.

In the first volume of The History of Sexuality he describes how, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sex and sexuality became crucial political issues in a society concerned with managing and directing the life of individuals and of populations.

These discourses, he claims, tended to understand sex as an instinctual biological and psychic drive with deep links to identity and, thus, with potentially far-reaching effects on the sexual and social behavior of individuals.

Thus, Foucault suggests that in modern society the behavior of individuals and groups is increasingly pervasively controlled through standards of normality which are disseminated by a range of assessing, diagnostic, prognostic and normative knowledges such as criminology, medicine, psychology and psychiatry.

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Above all, Foucault claims that modern regimes of power operate to produce us as subjects who are both the objects and vehicles of power. In fact, it is already one of the prime effects of power that certain bodies, certain gestures, certain discourses, certain desires, come to be identified and constituted as individuals.

For Foucault, power can be said to create knowledge in two related senses. Firstly, in the sense that particular institutions of power make certain forms of knowledge historically possible. In the case of the social sciences, for example, it is the refinement of disciplinary techniques for observing and analyzing the body in various institutional settings that facilitates the expansion of new areas of social research.

Power can also be said to create knowledge in the sense that institutions of power determine the conditions under which scientific statements come to be counted as true or false Hacking Between Foucault and Feminism: Drawing on the traditional model of power as repression, many types of feminist theory have assumed that the oppression of women can be explained by patriarchal social structures which secure the power of men over women.

Increasingly, however, this assumption is being called into question by other feminists who are concerned to counter what they regard as the oversimplified conception of power relations this view entails, as well as its problematic implication that women are simply the passive, powerless victims of male power.

The idea that modern power is involved in producing rather than simply repressing individuals has also played a part in a controversial move within feminism away from traditional liberationist political orientations.

Eschewing a liberationist political program which aims for total emancipation from power, Foucauldian-influenced feminism concentrates on exposing the localized forms that gender power relations take at the micro-political level in order to determine concrete possibilities for resistance and social change.

The most commonly cited feminist objections center around two issues: By insisting on the mutually conditioning operations of knowledge and power, Hartsock contends that Foucault denies the possibility of liberatory knowledge; that is, he denies the possibility that increased and better knowledge of patriarchal power can lead to liberation from oppression.

For this reason she believes that his work is incompatible with the fundamentally emancipatory political orientation of feminism. These criticisms of Foucault are directed at the conception of the subject and power developed in his middle years.

Some feminists have argued, however, that in his late work Foucault modifies his theoretical perspective in ways that make it more useful to the project of articulating a coherent feminist ethics and politics.

Foucault argues that, since modern power operates in a capillary fashion throughout the social body, it is best grasped in its concrete and local effects and in the everyday practices which sustain and reproduce power relations.

Foucault insists on the historical specificity of the body. The problem of how to conceive of the body without reducing its materiality to a fixed biological essence has been one of the key issues for feminist theory. At a fundamental level, a notion of the body is central to the feminist analysis of the oppression of women because biological differences between the sexes are the foundation that has served to ground and legitimize gender inequality.

An Analysis of Doug Liman’s Mr & Mrs Smith - New York Essays

By means of an appeal to ahistorical biological characteristics, the idea that women are inferior to men is naturalized and legitimized. This involves two related conceptual moves. While traditionally men have been thought to be capable of transcending the level of the biological through the use of their rational faculties, women have tended to be defined entirely it terms of their physical capacities for reproduction and motherhood.

In an effort to avoid this conflation of the social category of woman with biological functions essentialismearlier forms of feminism developed a theory of social construction based on the distinction between sex and gender. According to this view of social construction, gender is the cultural meaning that comes to be contingently attached to the sexed body.

Once gender is understood as culturally constructed it is possible to avoid the essentialist idea that gender derives from the natural body in any one way.Selected concepts central to Gender and Development thinking are explained here. colluded in this notion, giving overwhelming priority to such issues ‘Gender Analysis Framework’ in Overholt et al, , Gender Analysis in Development Planning: A Case Book, Kumarian.

An analysis of Doug Liman’s Mr & Mrs Smith () focusing on Butler’s notion of fluid gender identity. Butler’s concept of fluid gender identity states that rather than seeing the male and female genders fixed, they should be seen as fluid or flexible depending on the situation any .

A analysis of 46 meta-analyses that were conducted during the last two decades of the 20th century underscores that men and women are basically alike in terms of personality, cognitive ability and leadership. The resulting "urban legends" of gender difference can affect men and women at work and at home, as parents and as .

Damsels in Distress: A Textual Analysis of Gender roles in Disney Princess Films heartoftexashop.com 29 | Page. Selected concepts central to Gender and Development thinking are explained here.

An analysis of notion of gender

colluded in this notion, giving overwhelming priority to such issues ‘Gender Analysis Framework’ in Overholt et al, , Gender Analysis in Development Planning: A Case Book, Kumarian.

Philosophy Compass 9/5 (): –, /phc The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory Anna Carastathis* California State University, Los Angeles Abstract In feminist theory, intersectionality has become the predominant way of conceptualizing the relation between systems of oppression which construct our .

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