Routledge Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Rights

Article excerpt

Peter Aggleton & Richard Parker, cds., ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF SEXUALITY, HEALTH AND RIGHTS. New York: Routledge, 2010. 484p. bibl. index. $210.00, ISBN 978-0415468640; e-book (contact publisher for price), ISBN 978-0203860229.

With an ample introduction, sixty-six contributors, eight topical sections, and forty-seven chapters, the Routledge Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Rights offers a sweeping view of the landscape of sexuality research in the social sciences. The editors' aim is to provide "a scholarly yet accessible overview of the diverse and rapidly developing field of sexuality studies today" (p. 7). This collection certainly demonstrates the diversity of scholarly approaches and topics in sexuality studies, but in doing so, it fails to provide a succinct explanation of the field as a whole, as suggested by "handbook" in the title. Nevertheless, it is a rich and useful resource.

The interdisciplinarity of the field of sexuality studies in the twentieth century is well-represented in this collection, which includes research on and conceptual views of sexuality from the fields of anthropology, public health, sociology, history, philosophy, and psychology. Topics covered include reproductive and sexual health, sex work and tourism, sexual behaviors and pleasures, identities and subcultures, political and social movements for sexual minority rights, regulation and education around sexuality, and sexual violence. The work is global and multicultural, with pieces on Indonesia, South Africa, India, Brazil, Senegal, San Francisco, New York, Iran, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Namibia, Argentina, and Uganda. Section IV is devoted entirely to essays about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Although it is called a handbook, this work presents more like a broad-based anthology in which the field of sexuality studies is represented by wide-ranging accounts of specific studies, as well as overviews of selected concepts and trends both in sexuality research and in socio-cultural and historical understandings of sexuality and sexual behaviors. …