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Literary Theory Unit 3 Poststructuralism
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(A) Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Science
VERY SHORT TYPE QUESTION & ANSWERS
1. What is aporia?
Ans: The concept of aporia in Derrida’s writings, and that of subsequent deconstructivists, is is fairly complex. Effectively, Derrida is saying that aporia is a situation where the very elements that make a thing possible are simultaneously the same ones that make the thing impossible.
2. What is deconstruction?
Ans: Deconstruction is a strategy of critical questioning directed towards exposing unquestionable metaphysical assumptions and internal contradictions in philosophical and literary language. Deconstruction often involves a way of reading that concerns itself with decentering-with unmasking the problematic nature of all centres. Further deconstruction is a form of textual practice derived from Derrida, which aims to demonstrate the inherent insatiability of both language and meaning. It rejects the world “analysis” or “interpretation” as well as it rejects any assumption of texts.
3. What is binary opposition?
Ans: The binary opposition is the structuralist idea that acknowledges the human tendency to think in terms of opposition. For saussure the binary opposition was the “means by which the units of language have value or meaning; each unit is defined against what it is not”. With this categorisation, terms and concepts tend to be associated with a positive or negative. For example, Reason/passion, Man/Woman, Inside/outside, Presence/absence, Speech/Writing, etc. Darrida argued that these oppositions were arbitrary and inherently unstable. The structures themselves begin to overlap and clash and ultimately these structures of the text dismantle themselves from within the text. In this sense deconstruction is regarded as a forum of anti- structuralism. Deconstruction rejects most of the assumptions of Structuralism and more vehemently “binary opposition” on the grounds that such oppositions always privilege one term over the other, that is, signified over the signifier.
4. What is difference?
Ans: Against the metaphysics of presence, deconstruction brings a (non) concept called difference. Derrida uses the term “difference” to describe the origin of presence and absence. Difference is indefinable, and cannot be explained by the “metaphysics of presence”. In French, the verb “deferred” means both “to defer” and “to differ”. Thus, difference may refer not only to the state or quality of being deferred, but to the state or quality of being different. Difference may be the condition for that which is deferred, and may be the condition for that which is different. Difference may be the condition for difference.
5. What is Metaphysics of presence/Logocentrism?
Ans: According to Derrida, “logocentrism” is the attitude that logos (the Greek term for speech, thought, law, or reason) is the central principle of language and philosophy. Logocentrism is the view that speech, and not writing, is central to language. Thus, “Of Grammatology” (a term which Derrida uses to refer to the science of writing) can liberate our ideas of writing from being subordinate to our ideas of speech. Of Grammatology is a method of investigating the origin of language which enables our concepts of writing to become as comprehensive as our concepts of speech.
According to logocentrism theory, says Derrida, speech is the original signifier of meaning, and the written word is derived from the spoken word. The written word is thus a representation of the spoken word. Logocentrism maintains that language originates as a process of thought which produces speech, and that speech then produces writing. Logocentrism is that characteristic of texts, theories, modes of representation and signifying systems that generates a desire for a direct, unmediated, given hold on meaning being and knowledge.
Derrida argues that logocentrism may be seen in the theory that a linguistic sign consists of a signifier which derives its meaning from a signified idea or concept. Logocentrism assert the exteriority of the signifier to the signified. Writing is conceptualized as exterior to speech, and speech is conceptualized as exterior to thought. However, if writing is only a representation of speech, then writing is only a ‘signifier of a signifier’. Thus, according to logocentrism theory, writing is merely a derivative form of language which draws its meaning from speech. The importance of speech as central to the development of language is emphasized by logocentrism theory, but the importance of writing is marginalized.
Derrida explains that, according to logocentrism theory, speech may be a kind of presence, because the speaker is simultaneous present for the listener, but writing may be a kind of absence, because the writer is not simultaneously present for the reader. Writing may be regarded by logocentrism theory as a substitute for the simultaneous presence of writers and reader. If the reader and the writer were simultaneously present, then the writer would communicate with the reader by speaking instead of by writing. Logocentrism this asserts that writing is a substitute for speech and that writing and an attempt to restore the presence of speech.
Logocentrism is described be Derrida as a “metaphysics of presence”, which is motivated by a desire for a “transcendental signified”.  A “transcendental signified” is a signified which transcends all signifiers, and is a meaning which transcends all sign. A “transcendental signified” is also a signified concept or thought which transcends any single signifier, but which is implied by all determinations of meaning.
Derrida argues that the “transcendental signified” may be deconstructed by an examination of the assumptions which underlie the “metaphysics of presence”. For example, if presence is assumed to be the essence of the signified, then the proximity of a signifier to the signified may imply that the signifier is able to reflect the presence of the signified. If presence is assumed to the essence of the signified, then the remoteness of a signifier from the signified may imply that the signifier is unable, or may only be barely able, to reflect the presence of the signified. This interplay between proximity and remoteness is also an interplay between presence and absence, and between interioty and and exteriority.
6. Give a description on Deconstruction.
Ans: The word deconstruction first appears in Derrida’s writing in the 1960s. Contrary to common belief, it is no invention on the part of Derrida. As Derrida himself states, deconstruction is ”a very old word in the French language”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word is also no newcomer to the English language, having first found written expression in English way back in 1882. Derrida’s use of deconstruction, moreover, draws substantial on the German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s employment of the German concepts Destruction and abbau. This idea of deconstruction was never far from Derrida’s early writing and his entire oeuvre may justly be seen as performing it, with two important caveats. As Peggy Kamuf notes, “Derrida had initially proposed [deconstruction] in a chain with other words-for example, difference, spacing, trace-none of which can command the series or function as a master-word”. That is to say, first of all, deconstruction has no priority in Derrida’s body of writing as the core of a practice, a programme, a thesis or anything else.
Second, Derrida has been neither unequivocal in his enthusiasm for the term nor consistent when elaborating on it. At least some of Derrida’s reluctance to have his work reduced to this one word may be attributed to deconstruction’s “American chapter”. For a time when Derrida was at Yale University in the late 70s and early 80s, he was part of a group of prominent literary critics, among them, Paul dean, J Hills Miller, Geoffrey Hartman, and Harold Bloom, who were tagged as constituting the Yale School of deconstruction. There was, in fact, no such “school”, it being chiefly a media creation, based, as Julian Wolfreys says, on a fundamental “misunderstanding of the nature of the critical work that Derrida’s de Man and Miller were each, in their own fashion, pursuing. Such work was mistakenly given the name of ‘deconstruction”…. The chief drawbacks of the American literature departments’s embrace of Derrida and deconstruction were two-fold.
On the one hand, the philosophical context of Derrida’s writings-which back in French included the twin ruling ideologies of phenomenology and Structuralism with which Derrida was grabbing-got elided in the American vaporisation of deconstruction as Derrida, and the further representation of that deconstruction as principally.
A method of reading literary texts. So transformed into an instrument and pedagogy, deconstruction proved fertile ground for a wilter of distortions which while outraging and intimidating people with its “extreme”, its “irreverence”, its “nihilism”, its “textualism” (Richard Rorty, Robert Schooles among others) its “obscurantism” (Foucault is alleged to have commented on Derrida’s intellectual terrorism), also won for Derrida messianic cults status for a period of time.
On the other hand, because of its close association with the Yale literary critics, deconstruction could not escape being embroiled in the whole Paul de man saga. When, after his death, a couple of previously unknown articles by de man expressing anti-Semitic thoughts during the World war were discovered, the backlash was Swift and brutal. Paul de Man was pilloried as a Nazi apologist. Along with de Man, deconstruction too was reviled for its political evasiveness, its relativism, even fascism. In fact, neither deconstruction nor Derrida has been able to completely shake off the infamy and slut (intellectual and ethical) that attached to involvement in the de Man affair. Not surprisingly, Derrida himself has expressed reservations about the American avatar of deconstruction.
7. Give a critical view of the essay.
Ans: Structure, sign and play in the discourse of Human sciences’ was originally a lecture delivered by Jacques Derrida at John Hopkins University in 1966, which was later included as one of the chapters in his book ‘Writing and difference’s. The essay is widely considered as the beginning of postmodernism, Structuralism, and, of course, deconstructionism as it question all notions of ‘centre’, ‘origin’ and ‘presence’. Derrida begins by questioning the very legitimacy of the assumption of a ‘centre’ essential for the concept of ‘structure’ or ‘structuralism’. He accepts that a structure requires a centre to orient and the support it. However, he says, the centre becomes problematic as it remains outside the ambience of structurality. It seeks to obtain the status of a ‘transcendental signified’ which relates to the logocentric foundation of the Western metaphysics. Logocentrism is the tendency to seek and to legitimise ‘centre’ and ‘presence’.
It expresses a fundamental desire for a’ transcendental signified’, for something which ‘illuminates’ all signifiers but itself remains outside the signifying practices. Derrida contests Saussure’s view that in the binary of signifier/signified, the two are inseparable, the first invariably referring to the other. He says that the signified itself is not fixed; signified also seeks further meaning (signified) as it exists in a larger signifying process and, thus, it itself becomes another signifiers… So, there is a chain of signifiers and no stable ‘signified’ or ‘presence’. It also means that there is no ‘centre’ and no ‘margin’.
The concept of a centre implies ‘authority’ that arrests the free play of signifiers. Derrida also questions the structuralist notion of binary difference that produces ‘meaning’. He says that binaries are not representation of external reality. They are simply constructions where each signifiers needs other signifiers to make meaning. So, each term in a pair of binary opposition seeks to produce separate meaning. He also notes that binaries are arranged in hierarchical order in which one term is always privileged over the other as in ‘light/dark’, or ‘culture/nature’. Referring to the famous structuralist binary of ‘speech/writing’, he says that ‘speech’ is privileged for its being immediate, present and original whereas ‘writing’ is considered a representation of speech and, hence, secondary. Derrida challenge this by saying that writing has qualities to remove and to clarify vagueness of speech; hence, its importance as documentary evidence at many places.
Similarly, in the binary of ‘culture/nature’, as proposed by Levistrauss, the privileging of the one over the other is not tenable. With the help of the exame of incest/ prohibition, he says that prohibition of incest is evidenced in all cultures which renders it natural though it is part culture. In the same way, Levi-Strauss’ concept of ‘myth’ requires the idea of an ‘engineer’ who creates myth. But the idea is not tenable as it means that the system is created by something/someone who is outside the system. Derrida says that the history of Western metaphysics provide instances where the centre/ transcendental signified gets replaced by another. Thus, the centre of human society keeps on changing suggesting a ‘rupture’.
The need for a centre arises from an anxiety that in absence of it (centre/god) everything will be free play and sign would acquire the role of ‘supplementarity’. Finally, Derrida proposes two ‘interpretations’ of interpretative practice: one which is based on Structuralism or on science and aims to decipher truth/origin, and the other based on the free play of signs released the ‘text’ form any fixed and final interpretation. As the two interpretations are irreconcilable, we have to think of the ‘difference’ as irreducible ‘difference’.
8. Discuss Deconstruction through Derrida’s Structure, sign and play.
Ans: In his essay, ‘Structure, sign and play in the Discourse of Human sciences”, Derrida enunciates what he owes to Structuralism and his points of divergence from it. Any attempt to undo a particular concept is more likely to be caught in the terms upon which the concept depends. According to Derrida, the meaning of sign is always detached, always without any anchor-a void between the subject and what he wants to express. While Saussure considers language to be closed system, it is an open system for Derrida. As Das and Mohanty opines, “a centre diminishes the structurality of structure by posting an objective reality”. Derrida deduced that each sign performs two functions: ‘differing’ and ‘differing’. While one is spatial, the other is temporal. Coining the term ‘sous rature’ to expose “the inadequacy of the sign”, Jacques Derrida brings forth the notion that every sign is written under erasure.
Aiming to liberate language from the age-old concept, he said that there are two interpretations of ‘interpretation’, ‘structure’, ‘sign’ and ‘free play’. “…one seeks to decipher, dreams of deciphering a truth or an origin, which is free from free play and the order of the sign… The other, which is no longer turned towards origin, affirms free play”. Thus an author can never express his feeling accurate and exact. He must always mean something different, something more than what he had desired in the words of John strurrock, “the meaning that are read…may or may not coincide with the meanings which the author believes he or she has invested it with”. Derrida begins his text with a reference to a recent event in the history of the concept of structure, but immediately retreats to question the use of the word “event”. He is concerned that the word “event” is too loaded with meaning. Why is this problem? Because the function of thinking about structure is to reduce the notion of events. Why is to so? Because thinking about structure must be abstract and exclude concretes suc as events.
Still, Derrida wants to report on something that happened, which is relevant to the concept of structure, so he allows the event to be admitted into the discussion, provided it is enclosed in quotation marks, as a word and not an actual event. The event is now identified as that of “rupture”and “redoubling”. Of what? The reader will not find out until the end of the essay: “the appearance of a new structure, of an original system, always comes about-and this is the very condition of its structural specificity-by a rupture with its past, its origin, and it’s cause”. Then this is what has recently happened in the history of the concept of structure: a nascent structure is struggling to be born out of the old one, and it collides with the old structure-its origin and cause. The reader, however, is still in the beginning of the essay and has no clue what the rupture is about.
(B) Truth and Power
VERY SHORT TYPE QUESTION & ANSWERS
1. What is truth for Foucault?
Ans: Foucault uses the term ‘power/knowledge’ to signify that power is constituted through accepted forms of knowledge, scientific understanding and ‘truth’: ‘Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. And it induces regular effects of power.
2. Did Foucault believe objective truth?
Ans: Commentators on the work of Michel Foucault, friend and foe alike, routinely assert that Foucault rejects any notion of objective truth either because he rejects any notion of objectivity or because he rejects any notion of truth… Further more, he takes his own work to exemplify objectivity in its truth.
3. What is Foucault’s theory?
Ans: Foucault’s theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions…. These first three histories exemplified a historiographical technique Foucault was developing called “archaeology”.
4. What does Michel Foucault say the relationship between discourse knowledge and power is?
Ans: Power, in Weedon’s (1987) interpretation of Foucault is: a dynamic of control and lack of control between discourses and the subjects, constituted by discourses, who are their agents. Power is exercised within discourses in the ways in which they constitute and govern individual subjects.
5. What is Foucault’s disciplinary power?
Ans: According to Foucault disciplinary power characterises the way in which the relations of inequality and oppression in modern Western societies are (re) produced through the psychological complex.
6. What are the two main types of power according to Foucault?
Ans: We discuss this relationship between power and resistance by drawing on Foucault’s ‘triangle’:
(1) sovereign power.
(2) disciplinary power. and
7. What is truth and why it is important?
Ans: Truth is important. Believing what is not true is apt to spoil people’s plans and may even cost them their lives. Telling what is not true may result in legal and social penalties. Conversely, a dedicated pursuit of truth characterizes the good scientist, the good historian, and the good detective.
8. What is Michel Foucault’s best known for?
Ans: Michel Foucaul began to attract wide notice as one of the most original and controversial thinkers of his day with the appearance of the Order or things in 1966. His best-known works included discipline and punish: The Birth of the prison (1975) and The History of Sexuality, a multivolume history of Western sexuality.
9. What is the Enlightenment Foucault?
Ans: Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if it’s cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another.
10. What is the relationship between knowledge and power?
Ans: Knowledge is not independent of the individuals who hold it; it is a product of power relationships. According to Lubit (2001), knowledge is the base of power and respect; what often lead people to hesitate to share knowledge because they fear a decrease of their power.
11. What is the power theory?
Ans: The standard theory is that power is the capacity for influence and that influence is based on the control of resources valued or desired by others.
SHORT & LONG TYPE QUESTION & ANSWERS
1. Write a short note on power and genealogy.
Ans: power is the key interest for Foucault. Not just economic power (Marx) or status (Weber), but power instantiated in rules, language and institutions. Foucault is arguing that power is life throughout our social system, particularly in “control technologies” such as prisons and medicines. He is one of the first to make this claim so starkly.
“Genealogy” is “a form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledge, discourses, domains of objects, etc. Without having to make reference to a subject is either transcendental in relation to the field of events or runs its empty sameness throughout the course of history”. It’s looking at particularistic elements and showing how one transforms into the other. A key element here is that we can’t suppose a single ever-lasting notion of truth that is the same forever, or even a single purpose origin or principle. Things emerge accidentally, and are often the result of a plurality of sources.
2. Foucault does not like the Marxist notion “ideology” why? Give reason.
Ans: Foucault does not like the Marxist notion of “ideology”:
(a) It presupposes a truth he’s unwilling to accept.
(b) It refers to the order of a subject-an actor driving history, rather than events.
(c) Ideology is seen as secondary to something more fundamental, like “structure” and he thinks this is a false dichotomy.
3. What are the five elements of trusts?
Ans: In our society, truth rests on 5 elements:
(a) Truth is centred on the form of scientific discourse.
(b) It is subject to constant economic and political incitement (demand).
(c) It is the object of immense diffusion and consumption.
(d) It is produced under the control of a few great political and economic apparatuses (University, army, writing, media, etc.)
(e) It is the issue of a whole political debate and social confrontation (ideology struggles)
4. What is the hypotheses about truth?
Ans: (a) Truth is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements.
(b) Truth is linked in a circular relation with systems of power (a regime of truth).
(c) The specifics of this regime rest on capitalism.
(d) The role of the intellectual is to demonstrate the potential for a new politics of truth.
(e) They goal is to disentangle truth from power and Hegemony.
(f) The political question is thus not error or illusion, but truth itself.
5. Discuss about Michael Foucault and Marxism.
Ans: Michel Foucault is usually not considered a Marxist thinker, but his thought shares some of the interests as well as ground assumption of the tradition related to Karl Marx. Foucault takes from Marxism the understanding that ideas cannot be detached from social structures and power relations (see for example his thought on power and knowledge). Unlike classic Marxist thinkers Foucault does not share the notion that the cultural superstructure is derived only from the economical base and presupposed a much more intricate relationship between culture, economy and politics. Marx thought that the economical aspect of humanity and what he called “dialectical materialism” can account for any other human phenomena. For Foucault things are not so simple and the reciprocal interaction of material and non-material aspect should be the focus of interest.
Another thing Foucault has in common with Marxists (Like Adorno and Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Louis Althusser and others) is his interest in modern mechanisms of subordination and system of control that do not require over violence. Foucault asks how in a modern leberal society people still function in compliance with interests other than their own. His answer is that there are highly complex structure as play who determine how people exercise their “free” will.
Like Althusser, for example, Foucault emphasizes the materiality of power. For him power operates on the material level of existence, on the body itself (see for example his thoughts on panopticism in “Discipline and punish”), but this power functions through discourse. It can be argued that Foucault’s discourse approach bridge the classic Marxist thought on ideology as related to ideas and the Neo-Marxist thought of Althusser who sees ideology as purely material practices. On the one hand Foucault’s concept of discourse addresses ideas which shape the way people understand reality. On the other hand Foucault’s discourse includes material practices and institutions.
In conclusion, although Foucault will be right to reject the title ”Marxist”, he can still have a place of honour in the history of Marxist thought.
6. Write about Foucault’s concept of Heterotopia.
Ans: Heterotopia is a concept introduced by Michel Foucault in his 1966 book “Les mots et less choses” to describe the manner in which defined spaces which surround the subject in social existence can reduce his autonomy and even his sense of identity. According to Foucault a Heterotopia is the manner in which society and culture, having power on the one hand and the interest of realizing this power on the other, define the subject through his differentiation from general society. Initially Heterotopia was uses by Foucault to describe a non-real verbal space and he later expanded to term to refer to a physical as well as non-physical space.
People differed from the public sphere can be seen as subject, members of the social structure and as having free will, but at the same time they are subjects of a culture which examines, labels and constructs them as socially adopted entities. The Heterotopia breaks apart the subject through his reconstitution, his “amendment” and “proper” disciplining.
Foucault argues the prisons, mental institutions and even schools are such types of heterotopias. This is because such sites are separated from their surroundings, control movement in and out of them and inside of them and thus these heterotopias are able to control them.
According to Foucault, heterotopias are almost invisible and perceived as natural by members of a society, but they are nevertheless measures of disciplining, controlling and punishing of the different and deviant. In other words, heterotopias are seen as natural, necessary and harmless when in fact they are a way for society to regulate out behaviour.
Foucault believes that the formation of heterotopias is a critical process in the formation of social life. A Heterotopia allows for the consolidation of a mass into a distinguished society which exist at a given time and space. The concept of Heterotopia can be linked to the manner in which ideology is reproducing, creating and imposing it’s norm on its members. This process of social construction, Foucault says, has the capacity of differentiation the normal from the abnormal and through this to constitute a groups identity as well as the private identity of each of its members.
7. Discuss Foucault’s power and knowledge.
Ans: Foucault notions about power/knowledge appear throughout his writing and the summary here relies on his discussion of it in The History of sexuality). Power according to Foucault is a multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization. Here, Foucault is not referring to a group of institutions that ensure the subservience of citizens of a state, a mode of subjugation as a set of rules, or a system of domination in which there are rulers and the ruled. According to Foucault, power is omnipresent, not because it embraces everything uniformly, but because it comes from everywhere.
Foucault’s propositions on power:
(a) Power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of non-egalitarian and mobile relations.
(b) Relations of power are immanent in other types of relations.
(c) Power comes from below-there is no binary opposition between the ruled and the ruler.
(d) Where there is power. There is always resistance. Resistance is never exterior to power.
(e) One is always inside power. There is a plurality of resistances which exist in the field of power relations.
(f) Discourses can be an effect or instrument of power. But they may also be a point of resistance.
(g) Discourse transmits and produces power, but it also undermines and exposes it.
“Discourses are not once and for all subservient to power or raised up against it, any more than silences are. We must make allowance for the complex and unstable process whereby discourse can be both an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy. Discourse transmits and produces power; it reinforces it, but also undermines and exposes it, renders it fragile and makes it possible to thwart it”.
From power/Knowledge: According to Foucault, right-wing social scientist always perceive power in terms of sovereignty and law. And Marxist see power in terms of the state apparatus.
Foucault, on the other hand, was interest in how power is exercised and what it’s techniques and tactics were.
With this concerns, he studied psychiatry and penal institutions (prison system). Although these may seem unimportant, for him, psychiatry and penal institutions are essential to the general functioning of the wheels of power.
Foucault’s criticism of two concepts makes clear his understanding of power: the Marxist concept of “ideology” and the Freudian concept of “repression”.
He opposes ideology because this concept always stands against something that is supposed to count as truth. Ideology always refer to a subject. It is always secondary to an infrastructure; a material, economic determinant. In Marxism, “base determines superstructure, “that is, the relations of production determine the ideas. As Marx said, “in every epoch, the ideas are the ideas of the ruling class”. Marx and Marxist thought seeks to unravel that ideological stratum to get down to truth, which is the conflictual relationship between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The subject who is capable of knowing this truth is the working class-in-itself.
Foucault says that, rather than ideologies, he is interested in how “effects of truth” are produced within discourses-which are neither false not true.
He opposes the concept of repression” because this concept is only about the effect of power as repression, this is, “power that says no”, that prohibits. It is a conception of power.
For Foucault, repression is a negative conception of power. And sa such, it is incomplete.
What makes power hold good, what makes people accept it, is that it produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse.
According to his analysis, the “productivity of power” increased after the 18th century in Europe. A new “economy of power” emerged. procedures that allowed effects of power to circulate in a continuous, uninterrupt manner emerged.
Example: In the history of sexuality, Foucault was concerned with emerging discourses about infant (children’s) sexuality and homosexuality, among other things. It is often considered that the emerging bourgeois society of the 18th and 19th century Western Europe repressed child sexuality and homosexuality as undesirable, sick, abnormal, etc. but Foucault reject this view.
For him, by constantly writing about infant sexuality or homosexuality as a disease, as abnormal, etc. in fact, the medical discourse created an infant sexual identity, it sexualized the parent-child relationship, and also, it created a homosexual identity (as well as heterosexual one). It should be stressed that until the 19th century, homosexuality was considered to be an act that a person might engage in the course of his/her life. Although it was condemned, homosexuality was not considered to be an identity. But the medical discourse created a homosexual identity. This opened the way for the creation of a subjectivity around homosexuality, of homosexual desire, etc. Later, in the second half of the 20th century, homosexual identity become the starting point for “resistance”, namely, the gay rights movement in the west.