Miller and the gay Foucault

For me, the problem with Miller is not so much that the account
sensationalises Foucualt's sex life, but that it somewhat spuriously
conjoins a biographical account with a philosophical account, in his
thesis that all Foucault's work can be seen as a pursuit of the
'limit experience'. The politics of this argument need to be exposed:
a gay life is a life lived towards death, or SM=AIDS.

Otherwise, though, there is the question of whether Foucault needs
necessarily to be understood as a gay man. There may be some
connections between Foucault's gayness and his writings, and these
connections are the stuff of which biography is made. But it would be
a mistake, I think, to try to understand, for example, The History of
Sexuality, vol. 1, in tems of its gay author. Foucualt's
problematization of the sciences of man ought to make us suspicious
of any arguments that seek to rely on understanding 'the whole
person' in relation to their work (or anything else).

While it is fun to be able to install Foucault in the pantheon of gay
philosophers (and debate his comparative rank to Wittgenstein's) it
is about as useful to using his work as is the debate over whether
Heidegger was a Nazi!
Michael Bartos
Research Fellow
National Centre in HIV Social Research
Macquarie University NSW 2109

email: michael.bartos@xxxxxxxxx

ph: +61 2 850 8039
fax: +61 2 850 8112


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