Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sign fascism

But while the language may have been refine, the scope of the [sex or sexuality-based] confession--the confession of the flesh--continually increased (Foucault 19)

I was very interested in the passage above because of the implications it has on the very way we interpret and/or analyze meaning. What is Foucault is describing how the Church, as a ruling elite, utilized and appropriated the language (as a mode of interpreting) around sexuality to include "all the insinuations of the flesh: thoughts, desires, voluptuous imaginings...(19)." By including desires of the soul as grounds for "guidance," the Church gave itself the power to claim the totality of a human life. With one's every thought, or 'soul', being associated with a center.

I feel that the nature of the Church's process to 'control' sex can be elucidated in Foucault's linguistical explanation. What, in essence, was happening was that the range of available signifiers, or language, was being reduced while simultaneously, the range of signifieds, or scope (of that which can be described by language) was being broadened.

Thus, there were fewer signifiers for the totality of thinkable referents, or signifieds. Thus, the power was in the hands who claimed an ownership to meaning, through language--the Church which claimed knowledge of the 'divine' word, or logos, of God.

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