A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality

A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality

A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality

A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality

Synopsis

A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality offers an historical sociological analysis of ideas about expressions of sexual desire, combining both primary and secondary historical and theoretical material with original research and popular imagery in the contemporary context.

While some reference is made to the sexual ideology of Classical Antiquity and of early Christianity, the major focus of the book is on the development of ideas about sex and sexuality in the context of modernity. It questions the widespread assumption that the anxieties and fears associated with old sexual mores have been overcome in the late twentieth century context, and asks whether the discourses of Queer sexual politics have successfully fractured the binary categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality.

A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality will be of interest to students in the fields of sociology, sexual history, gender studies and cultural studies.

Excerpt

In response to perceived major transformations, social theorists have offered forceful, appealing, but competing accounts of the predicament of contemporary Western societies. Key themes emerging have been frequently condensed into terms like 'post-modernism', 'post-modernity', 'risk society', 'disorganized capitalism' and 'the information society'. These have important and widespread ramifications for the analysis of all areas of social life and personal well-being. The speculative and general theses proposed by social theorists must be subjected to evaluation in the light of the best available evidence if they are to serve as guides to understanding and modifying social arrangements. One purpose of sociology, among other social sciences, is to marshall the information necessary to estimate the extent and direction of social change. This series is designed to make such information, and debates about social change, accessible.

The focus of the series is the critical appraisal of general, substantive theories through examination of their applicability to different institutional areas of contemporary societies. Each book introduces key current debates and surveys, existing sociological argument and research about institutional complexes in advanced societies. The integrating theme of the series is the evaluation of the extent of social change, particularly in the last twenty years. Each author offers explicit and extended evaluation of the pace and direction of social change in their chosen area.

In this book, Gail Hawkes sets about examining the ways in which the experience and appreciation of sexuality might have changed over time. A more intriguing topic is difficult to imagine. Both continuities and transformations can be identified and their interpretation offer great opportunity for exploring social change. Dealing with writings about sex from since Classical Antiquity, she applies the insights of recent social theorists to analysing texts and discourse from different historical periods. The story of the changing regulation of sexuality necessarily involves much interpretation that is inherently controversial, for it is a sphere of struggles for power and control between moral arbiters, different groups of experts, social movements, men and women, states and citizens. A substantial proportion of the book deals with change in the twentieth century, but it is only in the context of the . . .

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