The Roots of Power : Animate Form and Gendered Bodies


The Roots of Power : Animate Form and Gendered Bodies



by: Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, former College at Brockport visiting professor.

This interdisciplinary work demonstrates, by steadfast attention to corporeal matters of fact, how the concept of power and of power relations is rooted in bodily life, in animate form. It first shows how Foucault's "optics of power" is Sartre's "The Look" writ large, and proceeds to explain how optics of power are undergirded by a "power of optics" which has its roots in our primate evolutionary heritage. The exploration of an evolutionary genealogy leads in turn into extended examinations and exemplifications of corporeal and intercorporeal archetypes. Moving easily through biological, anthropological and psychological domains, and informed by keen philosophical reflection, "The Roots of Power" aims to show how the personal and political are fundamentally joined in the body, that is, how the political defines us both as creatures of a natural history and as culturally - and individually - groomed bearers of meaning. Sheets-Johnstone assesses the complex of topics that progressively surfaces such as females' being receptive "year-round", male threat/female vulnerability, Sartre's characterisation of females' being "in the form of a hole", and proposed relationships between aggression and sex.



Publication Date


Publication Information

x, 438 pages ; 24 cm.

Chicago : Open Court, c1994.


Feminist Philosophy | Gender and Sexuality | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies




Located in Drake Library at: B105.B64 S84 1994

CONTENTS: Optics of Power and the Power of Optics -- An Evolutionary Genealogy -- Corporeal Archetypes and Power: Preliminary Clarifications and Considerations of Sex -- Corporeal Archetypes and Postmodern Theory -- Corporeal Archetypes: Sex and Aggression -- Corporeal Archetypes: Penetration and Being "in the Form of a Hole" -- Corporeal Archetypes and the Psychoanalytic View: Beginning Perspectives on the Body in Lacan's Psychoanalytic -- Corporeal Archetypes and Power: A Critical Examination of Lacan's Psychoanalytic of the Infant-Child -- Corporeal Archetypes and Power: Lacan's Psychoanalytic of the Unconscious -- Corporeal Archetypes and Power: The Phallus as Archetype.

The Roots of Power : Animate Form and Gendered Bodies