History of Sexuality: Volume 1

Michel Foucault

The History of Sexuality is a three-volume study of sexuality in the western world written by Michel Foucault. The first volume, The Will to Knowledge, was published in 1976. Volume I explores Foucault’s ideas regarding the “repressive hypothesis”, the idea that western society suppressed sexuality from the 17th to the mid-20th century; he argues that this hypothesis is an illusion, and that in actuality, discourse on sexuality proliferated during this period. He goes on to argue that at this time, experts began to examine sexuality in a scientific manner, classifying different types of sexuality and encouraging people to confess their sexual feelings and actions, all in the desire to learn the “truth” of sex.

status Lost
genre Philosophy » General Philosophy
publisher Éditions Gallimard
publish date 1976
popularity checked out 1 time(s)


  • By Sam Swicord -

    Foucault’s history of the concept of sexuality. It is often considered to be the first work in queer theory.

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