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Melissa St Germaine- Small

SOCI 2P20 Lecture 1: Sociological Study of Sex, Gender & Sexuality Sept. 12, 2013 Brief History - Earlier focus on behaviours considered deviant (outside of the norm) o E.g. homosexuality; coping mechanisms of discredited and discreditable sexual beings; and sexual underworlds – hustlers, prostitutes, prisons, tearooms, baths, and bars - Influence of broader social and political contexts of 1960s and 1970s o Civil rights movements o Women’s liberation o Anti-war and peace movements o Sexual liberation - Influence of broader social and political contexts of 1970s-1980s o Sexual discrimination awareness o Gay liberation movements o Rise of AIDS and activism o Corporate influence o Consumerist growth - Continuing backdrop of biological essentialism vs. social constructionism o Biology is destiny; before culture and sets limits on effects; sexual preference = sexual orientation, a biological mechanism o Social constructionism – individual is filled and shaped by culture and society o ‘nature’ vs. ‘nurture’ debate - Essentialism: “prioritizes a biological explanation for sexuality and hence limits its definition of sexuality to the individual expression of human desire and pleasure” (Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology) Sex, Gender & Power - Basic critiques of essentialism-biological determinism o Ignores sexual hierarchies and stratification o Ignores role of all social institutions in the regulation of norms o Sex as not always procreative - Pro: intersex; political arguments -> have to do with the rise of feminism - Social Constructionism: “prioritizes the relationships between the individual and society… meaning [of] sexuality is embedded in specific historical, political, and social practices … culturally and socially diverse ways in which sexual desires, practices, identities, and attitudes are conceptualized, categorized, [acted out] and regulated through social institutions and practices” (Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Socialization and Implications - Process through which the individual takes on ways of: o Thinking o Seeing SOCI 2P20 Lecture 1: Sociological Study of Sex, Gender & Sexuality Sept. 12, 2013 o Believing o Behaving - … that prevail within society one is born into Attitudes toward sex? - Argument that North America is not
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