Michel Foucault on Childhood

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Foucault, Identity, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Q: Assuming that we aren’t doomed, chained to sex as our destiny: and from childhood as they say…

MF: Exactly; look at what’s happening in the case of children. They say the life of children is their sexual life. From the bottle to puberty, that’s all they talk about. Behind the desire to learn to read or a liking for comic strips there is still, always, sexualiy. Are you sure that this type of discourse is in fact a liberating one? Are you sure it doesn’t enclose children in a sort of sexual insularity? And what if after all they didn’t give a damn? What if the freedom of not being adult consisted precisely in not being subject to the law, the principle, the commonplace which ends up by being so boring, of sexuality? If there could be polymorphous relationships with things, people, bodies, wouldn’t that be childhood?  Adults call this polymorphousness perversity to reassure themselves, and in so doing colour it with the monotonous tint of their own sex.

From an interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, 1977, Reprinted in translation in The Oxford Literary Review, vol 4, no.2 1980

Image from Ma Vie en Rose: http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/mavieenrose/

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