Sociological Aspects of Homosexuality: A Comparative Study of Three Types of Homosexuals

By Michael Schofield | Go to book overview

12 TOWARDS A THEORY OF HOMOSEXUALITY

A. THEORETICAL FORMULATION

The task of drawing practical conclusions from empirical investigation is difficult, and the results are sometimes far from satisfying. Sociology is not alone in this respect. Even in the more advanced physical sciences there is often a gap between experiment and explanation. But one of the features of social investigations seems to be the production of a series of undigested empirical facts with little relation from one study to another.

So far the sociological books on homosexuality have had to be content with investigating the phenomena and describing the results by listing the known facts. On such occasions it may be legitimate, but annoying, for the reader to be told that no conclusions can be drawn until further research has been undertaken.

Although scientific study of homosexuality from representative samples has not been going on for very long, perhaps a first attempt should be made to 'make sense' of the known facts. We are not yet at the stage when we can hope to evolve a single strictly formulated theory that will enable us to account for every significant aspect of homosexuality. But the results of this research and the other studies based on non-criminal and non-patient samples lead us to formulate the following theory.

Homosexuality is a condition which in itself has only minor effects upon the development of the personality. But the attitudes, not of the homosexual, but of other people towards this condition, create a stress situation which can have a profound effect upon personality development and can lead to character deterioration of a kind which prohibits effective integration with the community.

A proportion of homosexuals are unable to withstand the pressures from outside and become social casualties. These are the homosexuals most often found in prisons and clinics. Their difficulties may take a form not directly associated with the homosexual condition, although originally caused by the social hostility shown towards homosexuality. On the other hand the homosexuals who have learnt to contend with these social pressures can become adjusted to their condition and integrated with the community. These men are hardly ever found in prisons and clinics.


B. VARIATIONS IN THE REACTIONS TO SOCIAL PRESSURES

These outside pressures have some influence on all homosexuals to a greater or lesser extent. However, to the vast majority the

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Sociological Aspects of Homosexuality: A Comparative Study of Three Types of Homosexuals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Michael Schofield The Sexual Behaviour of Young People ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Author's Note ix
  • Part 1 - Results of the Research 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2 - HC Group (Homosexuals/Convicted) 7
  • 4 - HP Group (Homosexuals/Patients) 68
  • 5 - NP Group (Non-Homosexual/Patients) 85
  • 6 - HO Group (Homosexuals/Others) 101
  • 7 - NO Group (Non-Homosexuals/Others) 129
  • Part II - Discussion of the Results 145
  • 8 - Homosexuals in Trouble 147
  • 9 - The Other Homosexuals 173
  • 10 - Sociological Aspects 185
  • II - Law Reform 193
  • 12 - Towards a Theory of Homosexuality 203
  • Appendix: Research Plan 214
  • Subject Index 241
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