For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Society must be Defended

by Foucault, Michel (2003)

Key Passage

We could ask how the rule of the bourgeoisie allows us to understand the repression of infantile sexuality.Well, it's quite simple: from the seventeenth or eighteenth century onward, the human body essentially became a productive force, and all forms of expenditure that could not be reduced to these relations,or to the constitution of the productive forces, all forms of expenditure that could be shown to be unproductive, were banished, excluded, and repressed. Such deductions are always possible; they are both true and false. They are essentially too facile, because we can say precisely the opposite. We can deduce from the principle that the bourgeoisie became a ruling class that controlling sexuality, and infantile sexuality, is not absolutely desirable. We can reach the opposite conclusion and say that what is needed is a sexual apprenticeship,sexual training, sexual precocity, to the extent that the goal is to use sexuality to reproduce a labor force, and it is well known that, at least in the early nineteenth century, it was believed that the optimal labor force was an infinite labor force: the greater the labor force, the greater the capitalist system of production's ability to function fully and efficiently. (p.31)


Foucault, Foucauldian, Exchange, Nature, Society, Sovereignty, Bourgeoisie, Sexual Labour


Society must be Defended, Foucault Citations



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