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The Ploy of Instinct – Victorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance - Fordham Scholarship Online
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The Ploy of Instinct: Victorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance

Kathleen Frederickson


It is paradoxical that instinct became a central term for late Victorian sexual sciences as they were elaborated in the medicalized spaces of confession and introspection, given that instinct had long been defined in its opposition to self-conscious thought. The book argues that this paradox emerges as a result (and a cause) of changes to how instinct operates as a mechanism for governmentality as it helps gloss over contradictions in British liberalism that had been made palpable as writers around the turn of the twentieth century grappled with the legacy of Enlightenment humanism. As a resul ... More

Keywords: Instinct, liberalism, Victorian studies, Sexuality, History of science, History of psychology, psychoanalysis

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780823262519
Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015 DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262519.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathleen Frederickson, author
University of California, Davis

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