Although sex as a condition of possibility is heavily commodified in the romanticized selling points of advertisements and popular-culture products, the physical experiences most commonly associated with the act—pleasure and pain, commonly known as sadomasochism—remain proscribed in “respectable” modern society. The necessity of confronting both has nevertheless been argued, starting with Sigmund Freud’s groundbreaking studies. This accounts for artists and intellectuals inspecting sexuality at its core (“hard” core, so to speak), notwithstanding the risk of social and legal sanctions. Using Jang Sun-woo’s Gojitmal (1999) as key material for analysis, this study will attempt to shed some light on the social meaning of sadomasochism by viewing it as an expression of power relations. For this objective, the perspectives of Foucauldian thinkers as well as feminist theorists that allow the radical reconfiguration of auteur structuralism and psychoanalysis will be employed to delineate the dynamics between power and the self.


sadomasochism, reflexivity, sex-positive feminism, Gojitmal, jouissance, carnivalesque, voyeurism, taboo

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)