Gender, Genealogy, Biopolitics
This chapter discusses the theoretical, empirical, and methodological reasons for rethinking gender genealogically and biopolitically. Around the book’s core argument, that gender has emerged as an integral part of sexual discourse in the past fifty years, the chapter reviews key histories and genealogies of gender to explain why they do not always correspond methodologically to a Foucauldian genealogy in the full sense of the term. Michel Foucault’s genealogy of sexuality is reread with an explicitly biopolitical emphasis, making use of the insights provided by Foucault’s recently published Collège de France lectures. The chapter sketches out some of the demographic, familial, and economic shifts where gender was deployed, from the Victorian to the postwar era, before outlining the core arguments and the themes of the subsequent chapters.
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