Re: Basic info on Foucault for reading Bob Goss

Diane, you say that:
> Butler follows D&G's
>idea that there are as many sexes as there are individuals, and she
>probably covers this territory, a la D&G and a la Nietzsche, better than
>anyone else.

I am not so up to speed on D&G as i should be, but regarding Butler, I do
not think that her argument is one of a radical individualization of
sex/gender either as identity nor as convention. The problematic paradox of
even thinking invidualized (social) convention pushes against this idea of
(for Butler) that " there are as many sexes as there are individuals."

The problem is one of the shifting between an analysis of sex/gender system
-- deconstructive or otherwise -- that seeks to underscore some type of
"unfavorable" or "not good" dimension/process and the motivation analysis
that desires some form of "social change." I use "not good" here in a
categorical (not content) sense that as feminists or queer theorists (or
marxists of the full spectrum) we are interested in identifying the
"unfavorable" aspects of life that we would like to have changed; thus, the
terms of the analysis suggests at least implicitly a certain mode or element
of change/transformation. [clearly this is overt in traditional feminist
and marxist and liberal democracctic/enlightenment analyses; but more
implicit in deconstructive/poststructuralist analyses where utopian/total
emancipation for the individual Human and the collective Humanity (as per
enlightment-judeo-christian definitions of such) is not the goal as we have
already been discussing on the ethics thread.]

THUS, when Butler suggests that we ARE all "in (gender) drag"; that we are
all performing the ideal culturally given norms of "our" sex -- that we are
living a practice and practice a living that makes SEX -that culturally,
socially, historically constituted entity- "ours" "our OWN" our own
individual sex and gender, she identifies the locus for
habituated/unselfconscious and highly conscious/strategic subversion. This
Subversion then is a politics that seeks to erode and through erosion
dismantle and transform the current configuration of the sex/gender system.
Because subversion is both an individualized task and a collective one, does
not mean therefore that butler takes the position of D&G whereby a different
sex for each individual; whereby the objective social change is that each
with their own sex/gender. On the contrary, everything in her reading (or
at least my reading of her argument and her reading of foucault) is that
there is no sex and no gender except through the sociocultural collective
structures that provide the normative ideals that everyone is going about
trying to fulfill and live as reality that is natural-not-conventional. And,
thus, that change, reactionary or subversive, in that direction is an
impossibilty. how can we live outside of the social? THAT PRECISELY is why
she shows the humanist, emancipatory ideal of liberation from sex/gender is
operating in "that book" by foucault -- ie., in the 8-10 pp. introductory
argumento of m.f. to "herculine barbin". In other words, the subversion
that f. identifies, in his intro, as that which h.b. practiced in HER life,
but in not HIS life, complies with the heterosexualist matrix of sex/gender
as we have inherited as eurocultural descendents.

Now regarding the "third"... why is a third so easily assumed to break out
of binary logics? I rather understand logics of threes as intimately
colluding with logics of twos --- is not this at least one possible lesson
to learn from the discourse/debate on poe and his purloined letters (the
debate btween lacan and derrida and barbara johnson and et al on the
"proper" deconstructive fable/allegory to extract from poe' story)? (my
familiarity with hegel is also limited, but it seems that his philosophy
works between triadic logic call it dialectical and binary logic expressed
in familiar oppositions master/slave, spirit/matter,etc.; thus, a question
would be how does he strategically slip and slide between 2 & 3?). This
perspective fits with the person (soory cannot remember who said it)
regarding "the third" as already constructed within the sociocultural,
philosphic system/context. Again, this might be one reason why butler takes
foucault to task for the uncharacteristically humanist positioning he
assumes in the intro to H.B.

In any case, all one must do is open one's eyes and senses to the FACT that
there many more than two or three sexes/genders in the world. There is not
a number that equals the population of the globe (or twice that or thrice
that if one allows individuals by possibility to be in "drag" as both one'
"own" and the "opposite" sex and thus there three sexes for each person....)
rather, there are already multiple sexes and genders that are
sociohistorically constructed in relation to the multiple forces of class,
racial-ethnic identity/communities, age, culture, etc. Already a
multiplicity that is not 2 nor 3 nor infinite. thus, we must distinguish,
as someone earlier did, between the logics of analysis and that, all of
that, which is outside and beyond, but connected to logics.

this already too long.

"See" ya later!



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