condensation of sexual categories

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Blue Apple

Senior Member
Persian (Iran)
Does the following text want to say that Foucault in his book talks about that sexual categorization started to decline in the late nineteenth century and intellectuals started no longer to privilege heterosexuality over other sexual orientations.


Text:
In the first volume of his planned four-volume study The History of Sexuality (1976), Michel Foucault observed a “sudden, radical condensation of sexual categories” in the West, beginning in the late nineteenth century. This meant there appeared to be a new intellectual concern with distinguishing heterosexual from other sexual behaviors such as homosexuality (Art and Politics by Claudia Mesch).
 
  • Does the following text want to say that [1]Foucault in his book talks about that sexual categorization started to decline in the late nineteenth century and [2]intellectuals started no longer to privilege heterosexuality over other sexual orientations.


    Text:
    In the first volume of his planned four-volume study The History of Sexuality (1976), Michel Foucault observed a “sudden, radical condensation of sexual categories” in the West, beginning in the late nineteenth century. This meant there appeared to be a new intellectual concern with distinguishing heterosexual from other sexual behaviors such as homosexuality (Art and Politics by Claudia Mesch).
    No for both [1] and [2].

    Sexual categorization became more rigid, with less varieties**. There was also an attempt to define normal sex versus deviant sex.

    [ADDED]**Analogy: Steam's tiny particles condense into droplets of water.
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    That sentence makes little sense to me. To condense something is to make is smaller, generally. I struggle to imagine that there was a huge range of sexual orientations which were narrowed down in the late 19thC.

    I suppose it could mean "settle out" in the sense that steam in a bathroom becomes water on contact with cold tiles, for example. Maybe an interest in classifying and labelling?

    I certainly wouldn't read it as this
    sexual categorization started to decline in the late nineteenth century and intellectuals started no longer to privilege heterosexuality over other sexual orientations.
    edit to add - x-posted with Bennymix.
     

    Blue Apple

    Senior Member
    Persian (Iran)
    No for both [1] and [2].

    Sexual categorization became more rigid, with less varieties**. There was also an attempt to define normal sex versus deviant sex.

    [ADDED]**Analogy: Steam's tiny particles condense into droplets of water.
    so it is exactly the reverse of what I thought! :D
     

    Blue Apple

    Senior Member
    Persian (Iran)
    Yes. Your [2] is almost opposite to what F says (and what we know about F, independently, i.e. through his other writings).
    Thank you. So, now I understand it as Foucault in his book says that "sexual categorization got intensified in the late nineteenth century and intellectuals started to privilege heterosexuality over other sexual orientations, compared to past". Yeah? :)
     
    Yes, in fact 'intellectuals' are not mentioned. The phrase is "a new intellectual concern with distinguishing heterosexual from other sexual behaviors". This means that some doctor writing a learned treatise requiring thinking and reasoning is trying to distinguish ...[etc]."

    Here is the relevant def from W-R, for intellect

    capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, esp. of a high or complex order;
    mental capacity.

    One is dealing with the adjectival form of this.
     
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