ERIC Number: ED184931
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Sexuality, Power, and Politics.
Hartsock, Nancy C. M.
The source of contemporary attitudes toward sexuality, power, and politics is found in the literature of the ancient Greeks, specifically, Plato's "Republic" and "Symposium," Aristotle's "Politics," and the plays of Aeschylus and Aristophanes. The "Symposium" can be read as an account of how sexuality can be incorporated into the public life of the polis (city-state, community). The man who loves the body rather than the soul is associated with the female world and is seen as subordinate to the things associated with maleness and the higher world. The outcome of Aeschylus'"The Oresteia" suggests that Athens as a public arena depended on the domestication of the female forces of disorder. For Aristotle, the political community is an exclusively male community in which power and sexuality are intertwined and the exercise of political power involves rule over equals and over those worth loving and worth dominating (e.g., other males in the political arena). Finally, Aristophanes' comedies depend on women breaking away from their traditional roles with catastrosphic results for the political community. Power becomes domination of those outside the community (women, slaves, and laborers), within the community (male peers), and of the appetitive and irrational part of the self. In sum, a change in our understanding of politics and power would require a change in our understanding of the human relation to nature and to the body and in the social relations which are the source of this world view. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Plato
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (New York, NY, August 31-September 3, 1978).