46 pages 1 hour read

Michel Foucault

The History of Sexuality: Volume 1

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1976

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Index of Terms

Ars Erotica

For Michel Foucault, this term refers to societies that emphasize that the truth about sex and sexuality is divulged through pleasure. Erotic art depicts images of pleasure rather than focusing on utility or power. Foucault suggests that these societies maintain an element of individual mystery.


In historical writing, “bourgeois” is used to describe attributes connected to the class of merchants, businesspeople, and professionals. This group is sometimes referred to as the middle class—situated between the proletariat (working class) and the aristocracy. However, in the Communist Manifesto (1848), Karl Marx argues that the rise of industrial capitalism has allowed the bourgeoisie to replace the aristocracy at the top of the social order. The History of Sexuality challenges the idea that this singular ruling class—the bourgeoisie—is responsible for setting the terms of sex and sexuality in the Victorian era.

Canonical Law

Canonical law refers to the ordinances set forth by a religious judicial system, particularly regarding the Catholic Church. Canonical law reveals the connection between religious belief and governmental law.

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