Self-Transformations : Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies

4 (35 ratings by Goodreads)
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4 (35 ratings by Goodreads)

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Heyes' monograph in feminist philosophy is on the connection between the idea of "normalization"-which per Foucault is a mode or force of control that homogenizes a population-and the gendered body. Drawing on Foucault and Wittgenstein, she argues that the predominant picture of the self-a picture that presupposes an "inner" core of the self that is expressed, accurately or not, by the outer body-obscures the connection between contemporary discourses and
practices of self-transformation and the forces of normalization. In other words, pictures of the self can hold us captive when they are being read from the outer self-the body-rather than the inner self, and we can express our inner self by working on our outer body to conform. Articulating this idea
with a mix of the theoretical and the practical, she looks at case studies involving transgender people, weight-loss dieting, and cosmetic surgery. Her concluding chapters look at the difficult issue of how to distinguish non-normalizing practices of the self from normalizing ones, and makes suggestions about how feminists might conceive of subjects as embodied and enmeshed in power relations yet also capable of self-transformation.

The subject of normalization and its relationship to sex/gender is a major one in feminist theory; Heyes' book is unique in her masterful use of Foucault; its clarity, and its sophisticated mix of the theoretical and the anecdotal. It will appeal to feminist philosophers and theorists.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 20 x 155 x 235mm | 287g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0195310543
  • 9780195310542
  • 920,548

Table of contents

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Review quote

Cressida Heyes has produced a book that should be of great value to Foucault specialists as well as to feminist readers not well acquainted with Foucault. It is accessible and brief enough for undergraduate students, but original and compelling enough to hold the interest and perhaps spark the imaginations of professional philosophers and social theorists. This book deserves a place in every library. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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Rating details

4 out of 5 stars
- 35 ratings
5 26% (9)
4 54% (19)
3 17% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 3% (1)
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