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Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity - Chapter 3, Subversive Bodily Acts, Section II, Foucault, Herculine, and the Politics of Sexual Discontinuity Summary & Analysis

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Foucault's genealogy of gender helps to criticize Lacanian and neo-Lacanian theories that see unusual sexual practices and identities as unintelligible. Many of his best insights concern his publication of the journals of Herculine Barbin, a nineteenth-century French hermaphrodite. He argues that the univocal idea o sex serves social regulation and control and only artificially binds different sexual functions together which makes sex as such look causal. Sex is an effect not a cause. Liberation views of sex are problematic as well, for Foucault. The intersexed body refutes sexual categorization.

Butler transitions to discuss the development of Foucault's views between his works and she describes Herculine's journal entries and analyze them. Not only does the hermaphrodite help tear down the...

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This section contains 246 words
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