Thursday, February 26, 2009


Fellow readers,

By the end of part two, on pages 48-9, Foucault seems to be arguing that when power increases, variations in sexuality and pleasure multiply. However, If this is true, then we should be at a point of unprecedented conformity of sexuality because this society has systematically disempowered people by making possible decisions for individuals. We are left with little but the ability to choose between predetermined options. So, is Foucault ‘s notion of power that of the individual, or is he talking about the empowerment of institutions that develop at the cost of individual liberty and power? [his explanation of power on p. 92 seems to fall outside of either category] Does it not seem too convenient for Foucault begin his grand “History” of sexuality a mere four hundred years ago?

"Politics is war pursued by other means."

"Sex, the explanation for everything."
[An effort to make this blog more "bloggy"]

Foucault cont'd:

On 140, Michel describes biopower as "the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations." He seems to be speaking specifically about humans and, more broadly, "social bodies." What is the usefulness of biopower as a concept applied to non-human life as in an agricultural or genetically-modified organism sense? What does the scope of a feminist critique of biopower contain? Beyond gender equality, perhaps it would go on to question anthropocentrism and humans' entitlement to the earth's "resources." As a more amorphous and insidious method of control, what does resisting the biopolitical look like to individuals? to populations?

Re: Ang and Hermes:
Ang and Hermes do a good job complicating previous research by challenging the conception of a female audience having a homogenous feminine gender. They also question the validity and genearalizability of previous research that isolated peoples’ experience of a text from its relation to other texts within the bricolage of our post-modern mediascape. Importantly, Ang and Hermes also cite the fact that media use is a “social process” with a multitude of forces that mediate the effects of media on people with ever-changing subject positions. Each of these complications are welcome in a field that seems to continue trying to establish apparent direct media effects despite widespread abandonment of the belief that media messages cause predictable behavior via the hypodermic needle theory. Much psychological research seeks to understand human behavior as a social phenomenon that is affected by the perceived expectations of others. Why do Ang and Hermes and other researchers seem to avoid acknowledging this in their research? Why hasn’t the research we’ve focused on so far considered third person effects? Perhaps women continue to absorb gender roles and expectations through the expectation that everyone else is affected by such media stereotypes. This, at least, partially explains the lack of evidence for direct media effects in the face of an overwhelming conformity amid conceptions of sex and gender.

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