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Foucault, Same-Sex Union and Alchemy: A Critical Reading of the Hermaphrodite in Jungian and Traditionalist Philosophy

Conway, Benjamin Paul (2018) Foucault, Same-Sex Union and Alchemy: A Critical Reading of the Hermaphrodite in Jungian and Traditionalist Philosophy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:70895)

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This thesis argues that the neglected images of the history of science, found in the western alchemical tradition, provide a unique resource for thinking about same-sex union. It provides an opportunity to re-examine the cultural appropriation of these images, used by Jungian psychoanalysis and Evolian traditionalist metaphysics, which deny the validity of same-sex union and homosexuality. By adopting Foucauldian methodologies and using his effective historical, archaeological and genealogical approaches, the thesis argues that there is a silent secondary discourse supported through alchemical imagery that celebrates male same-sex union.

The thesis shows how alchemy can be seen as a counter-memory to the dominant regime of sexual-union. By integrating Foucault and the suppressed alchemical images of the Solidonius manuscript with its unique all-male union I argue that this manuscript is a contemporary to Jung's seminal exploration of the Rosarium Philosophorum from which Jung, and Evola, outline the basis of a compulsive heteronormativity in their respective individuation and intiatic techniques. The thesis challenges the existing denial of same-sex union manifesting through identity politics and same-sex marriage.

Chapter 1 demonstrates the problem and paradox of the internalized image of the hermaphrodite of Jung and Evola. It outlines a framework of etymological and phenomenological language which is used to critically expose the sui generis claims of the hermaphrodite's role in denying same-sex union. Chapter 2 provides the historical contextualization of the alchemical images, tracing the hermaphrodite trope through four successive phases. These are the philosophical, the alchemical (proper), the hermetic and the psychic. Finally, chapters 3 and 4 combined the alchemical symbols and Foucauldian critical perspectives to develop a reclamation of alchemical same-sex union. Although Foucault dismissed the value of alchemy, this integration offers an original reconceptualization that has the potential to impact directly on the internalized lives of those participating in same-sex identity politics today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Carrette, Jeremy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 13:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2022 14:34 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Conway, Benjamin Paul.

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