Deleuze and Sex

Deleuze and Sex

Deleuze and Sex

Deleuze and Sex

Synopsis

Exploring central aspects of the role of sexuality in Deleuze's philosophy

Excerpt

Frida Beckman

In the Shadow of Foucault

If sex has become ‘the explanation for everything’, as Michel Foucault asserts in the first volume of his seminal work on sexuality (Foucault 1990: 78), then why are we not more interested in what Gilles Deleuze has to say on the topic? If our bodies, minds, individuality and history are understood through a ‘Logic of Sex’, as Foucault maintains, then why have so few commentators been tempted to examine Deleuze’s philosophy of desire with reference to that logic? I would like to suggest four main reasons for this relative silence on the subject. To begin with, Deleuze’s friend and contemporary Foucault was and continues to be the philosopher of sexuality par excellence. His multivolume project on sexuality, the first volume of which was first published while Deleuze and Félix Guattari were developing their second book on Capitalism and Schizophrenia, is not only groundbreaking in its interlinking of sexuality and social and political institutions, it also remains one of the most comprehensive works on the topic to date. That Deleuze’s work, which is not explicitly about sexuality in the same way, has ended up in the shadow of Foucault is perhaps not so surprising. In what was originally a letter of support addressed to Foucault after the publication of the latter’s first volume on sexuality in 1976, Deleuze emphasises Foucault’s major thesis that molar organisations reduce sexuality to sex and thereby destroy the productive, connective potential of sexuality (Deleuze 2007a: 126). Yet, in his subsequent book on Foucault, published in 1986, Deleuze, while curious, also seems a little hesitant about Foucault’s interpretation of sexuality (Deleuze 2006a). Possibly he feels that the problem of Foucault’s interpretation is itself a problem of hesitation – an unwillingness to explore the creative implications of his own theories. Deleuze’s writing on Foucault and sexuality is characterised . . .

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