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SOCB51H3 Chapter Notes -Heterosexuality, Psychopathy, Mary Douglas

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Joe Hermer

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National Security as Moral Regulation: Making the Normal and the Deviant in the Security
Campaigns against Gay Men and Lesbians
Moral Regulations - In the 1950s and 1960s in cold war Canada moral regulation can be seen as
the social institutions discourses and practices making the normal and the moral; normalizing and
naturalizing only certain ways of living
o A crucial part of the national security campaign was the making of heterosexuality as the
moral national safe and normal sexuality why gay and lesbian sexualities were made into
the immoral risky and deviant sexualities that were thrown outside the fabric of the
o The marking of queer sexualities as suspect and risky has a legacy in our historical
present continuing to shape social practices of discrimination against lesbians gay men
bisexuals and trangendered people who do not fit into the dominant two gender system
o Challenge heterosexual hegemony the social practices discourses, ideologies
constructing heterosexuality as the only natural and normal sexuality
During the 1950s and 1960s thousands of homosexuals lost their jobs in the public service and the
military as the RCMP collected the names of 9000 lesbians and gay men by the Ottawa area
o Homosexuals were portrayed in this Cold War national security discourse as suffering
from a character weakness or moral failing that would make us vulnerable to blackmail
and compromise by foreign agents and therefore into security risks
To this day closeted homosexuals can be denied security clearances with the argument that they
have something to hide and therefore are vulnerable to blackmail and are a security risk
The Moralization and Normalization of Sexuality
Mary Douglas - shows how social and moral notions of purity pollution and taboo have often
been built on the social relations of physiological reproduction and erotic practices.
o Ideas about separating, purifying demarcating and punishing transgressions have as their
main function to impose system on an inherently untidy experience.
Douglas argues that nothing is more essentially transmitted by a social process of learning than
sexual behavior and this of course is closely related to morality
o Reproductive and sexual norms and taboos produce a natural order around which life
comes to be organized. This natural order depends on boundaries separating the normal
from the ambiguous
Moral regulation broad range of social discourses institutions ideologies and practices. Ideologies
are the ruling ideas in a society than are usually just taken for granted as common sense.
o Moral regulation covers a much broader terrain than that of the sexual including non
sexual practices such as alcohol drug use gambling and crime. Eroticism and sexual
activity key area for moral regulation often informing the moral regulation of seemingly
non sexual activities.
The making of the moral and immoral the right and wrong ways to live which often in the
west has its roots in absolutist church ideologies has especially been applied to the body and its
pleasures over the last two centuries.
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o New knowledge of medicine, psychiatry and psychology came to build on earlier church
based prohibitions and came to transform and shift moral/immoral distinctions on a new
secular and scientific basis
o New terrain of sexuality came to be defined in the 19th century as an essential instinct or
drive that defined people’s activities and began to become the truth of people’s beings
o Lead to opening of new social spaces outside the family realm and the household
economy through the development of capitalist social relations
o Sexual policing is the social policing of this new terrain of sexuality focusing on the
regulation of deviant sexualities through the sexation of the criminal code and police
activity into new areas of sexual activity
The criminal code sections referring to sex-related offenses against morality until they were
moved into a new second called sexual offences in the 1950s
o Expansion of the policing of the sexual through growing police and criminal justice
systems and other social agencies form of sexual resistance were generated by groups
of people seeking social spaces
The moralization of the sexual continued even after there was a shift away from moral
conservatism an approach that argues that there is only one right sexuality religious based and
against erotic activity outside of marriage towards a more liberal policy of sexual regulation
focus on public/private distinctions in the 1960s
In the late nineteeth and twentienth centuries heterosexuality was associated with the natural,
normal the clean the healthy and the pure; homosexuality was in contrast the dangerous the
impure the unnatural the sick and abnormal
o Homosexuality personality characteristics are perceived to be a problem and its
association constructed with Marxism and its challenge to capitalism
o The construction of homosexuality as a moral and political problem has been closely
related to its construction as a deviant sexuality
o Strategy for disciplinary power and power knowledge relations is normalization -
Normalization leads to the making normal of only some practices and ways of living and the
making of others as pathological abnormal and deviant
o The normalization of sexuality has involved forms of policing and criminalization as well
as psychiatric psychological and sociological forms of disciplary knowledge
o Deviancy is an administrative collecting category grouping together different social
practices with very different social characteristics so they can all be addressed together as
o The paradigmatic example of deviance have been homosexuality and prostitution
The historical and social process not only marginalizes the deviant homosexual on the social
periphery it also places the normal heterosexual at the social centre
The world of national security looks very different if we start from the social experiences of those
most detrimentally affected.
o Harold’s experiences were shaped both through security regime practices that defined
homosexuals as threats to nation security because of their character weakness and the
policies of the Canadian military which called for the disposal of all sex deviates found in
the military which pre-dated and helped to shape these security campaigns.
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