Exploring the links between knowledge, power and silence in New Zealand’s discursive formation on therapeutic sexual exploitation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
In this dissertation, Foucault’s methodologies, archaeology and genealogy, are used to explore the links between silence, knowledge and power in the area of therapeutic sexual exploitation. Underpinning this task is Foucault’s theoretical assumption that knowledge is not scientifically constructed through objective and rational methods. Knowledge, under Foucault’s theoretical framework, is influenced by the more obscure conditions of possibility which affect power relations and, therefore, power-knowledge. Therefore, New Zealand’s scientific discourse around therapeutic sexual exploitation is analysed by moving between the discursive and the extra-discursive. This is undertaken to highlight the more obscure conditions of possibility which may have affected the political construction of knowledge and its material effects in the area of therapeutic sexual exploitation. New Zealand’s academic discourse on therapeutic sexual exploitation is examined with reference to the social conditions which have influenced the origins of counselling and psychotherapy in New Zealand. This includes an exploration of the links between counselling and psychotherapy to other New Zealand based psy-professions. In particular, an investigation is conducted as to how disciplinary procedures have been applied to those connected to, and affected by, therapeutic sexual exploitation. This, however, is studied by locating New Zealand’s discourse within an international discourse on therapeutic sexual exploitation. This wider lens shows how New Zealand’s discourse around therapeutic sexual exploitation, as other countries’ discourses on this matter, has developed in response to local social conditions and changing power relations. Through this broader analysis of New Zealand’s discursive formation on therapeutic sexual exploitation one can see the interplay between silence, knowledge and power, and its material effects on the lives on people. This dissertation highlights not only what knowledge-power might be restricting, but also what it might be producing in the area of therapeutic sexual exploitation, the impacts of which, it will be argued, extends well beyond the particular domain under examination.