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La pulsion et la répression. Les enjeux de la problématisation du désir sexuel dans le christianisme antique (IIIe-Ve siècles)

Abstract : This thesis is a genealogical study of the notion of “sexual desire” as it appeared in Ancient Christianity from the 3rd to the 5th century. Distinguishing between two competing anthropologies, it seeks to reconstruct the modalities according to which this desire has been understood as a compelling drive. It is in line with gender studies in so far as it asks the question of whether there is, at the basis of social categories and justifications of power, a form of irreducible naturality. The purpose here is, on one hand, to show that the notion of natural desire derives from a contingent problematization of sexual desire and, on the other hand, to highlight the consequences of this reasoning.Between the 3rd and 5th centuries, Christian authors opposed one another on the question of human capabilities. For the “perfectionists,” man was able to achieve perfection on his own. Consequently, they saw the “world” as full of bonds hindering the subject's spiritual progress. In this context, being alone in the “desert” appeared as a means to achieve freedom. On the contrary, the “defaultists” held that man was naturally flawed, so that perfection was not thought to be an achievable goal any more, but a gift from God. Underlining that man was no master in his own house because he could not master his own libido, Augustine showed that his liberation could only depend on his submitting to coercive institutions designed to compensate for his weakness. Offering an original problematization of human nature by naturalizing the sexual drive, Christian defaultism could thus justify the submission of men.By tracing a genealogy of sexual desire, this study seeks to demonstrate that freedom does not only require criticizing the idea of repression, but more radically questionning the naturalist model of the drive.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 5:22:08 PM
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Anthony Manicki. La pulsion et la répression. Les enjeux de la problématisation du désir sexuel dans le christianisme antique (IIIe-Ve siècles). Philosophie. Ecole normale supérieure de lyon - ENS LYON, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014ENSL0908⟩. ⟨tel-01060996⟩



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