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The Ploy of InstinctVictorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance$
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Kathleen Frederickson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262519

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262519.001.0001

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The Case of Sexology at Work

The Case of Sexology at Work

(p.61) Two The Case of Sexology at Work
The Ploy of Instinct

Kathleen Frederickson

Fordham University Press

Because instinct was thought to be insensible to any knowledge of the relationship between means and ends, it presented liberal theorists with the means of explaining a sharply limited aspirational horizon that nonetheless could account for agency by working as a substitute for motivation. This formulation was crucial in allowing late-Victorian liberalism to imagine “savages” who were conceived as both passionate and indolent. Liberals and radicals agreed that instinct had no place in the scene of wage work under industrial capital—a fact that presented complications for sexologists such as Havelock Ellis and Edward Carpenter as they sought to argue that certain forms labor might be biologically intrinsic.

Keywords:   Sexology, Case study, Labor, Marxism, Liberalism

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