As noted in Chapter 4, in 1976 Foucault’s intention was to write five more volumes of The History of Sexuality, and the topics of these volumes were to be the hystericization of women’s bodies, the pedagogization of children’s sex, the control of fertility and the race, the psychiatrization of perversions and an exploration of the Christian concept of ‘the flesh’. In the first course lecture in ‘Society Must Be Defended’, delivered in January 1976, shortly before volume 1 of The History of Sexuality went to press, Foucault seems so demoralized by his research trajectory that it comes as little surprise that he abandoned it. He says to his students:
In this lecture Foucault makes repeated references to his work as ‘useless knowledge’, ‘sumptuary knowledge’ and ‘useless erudition’ (pp. 4-5). He admits:
It seems that Foucault felt that writing five more volumes of The History of Sexuality according to his original plan, with at least four of the volumes making the same argument – that sexualities are socially constructed – simply with respect to different kinds of subjects (women, children, ‘perverts’, etc.), was random, repetitive and useless: not only would he have been making the same point each time, but he would not have been offering his readers any alternative to the picture of modern sexuality that he was describing. He would not have answered the pressing questions: how, beyond agentless ‘resistance effects’, can we resist biopower and the medicalization of sex? How might we create subjectivity otherwise? Foucault thus abandoned the idea of writing volumes on women, children, ‘perverts’ and the regulation of reproduction and the race, and, while he did draft a volume on
the Christian ministry of ‘the flesh’, his death in 1984 pre-empted its publication.