Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies

Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies

by Cressida J. Heyes


$88.47 $99.00 Save 11% Current price is $88.47, Original price is $99. You Save 11%.


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195310535
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 07/19/2007
Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy Series
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Pictures of the Self: Wittgenstein and Foucault on Thinking Ourselves Differently

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews