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Sexuality and Parrhesia in the Phenomenology of Psychological Development: The Flesh of Human Communicative Embodiment and the Game of Intimacy

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In the three published volumes of his History of Sexuality Foucault reflects on themes of anxiety situated in the Christian doctrine of the flesh that led to a pastoral ministry establishing the rules of a general social economy—rules that enabled, over time, a discourse on the flesh that took thrift, prudence, modesty, and suspicion as essential ethical premises in the emerging “art of the self.” Rather than sensing flesh as a charged, motile potentiality of attachment and intimacy, it came to be seen as skin—as the limit of a sovereign body, embedding guilt and shame into the texture of its expression. This essay pursues the psychological and communication problematic of intimacy as a critical and developmental experience of the flesh. Foucault's concept of self-care and parrhesia, Merleau-Ponty's concept of flesh and embodiment, and Bataille's concept of glory and eroticism contribute to a phenomenology of human development that seeks to articulate an idea of a self diffierentiated from the unspoken binds of familial anxiety and emotionality.

Affiliations: 1: Mercer University


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