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Chapter 4

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Sociology 2259
Lauren Barr

Chapter 4 Deviant and Normal SexualityThe only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot performKinseyBiology as foundation upon which normal and deviant sexuality is defined whats normal is whats physically possibleThere is hardly anyone whose sexual life if it were broadcast would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror Somerset MaughamLooks further than biologynot what is just biologically possible but what is normal is socially acceptableSocial processes determine what is considered deviant and normal sexuality in societythrough the processes of description placed in a category because of their sexuality evaluation judged based on their category and prescription made subject to particular measures of regulation or social controlObjective deviance specialists refer to cultural and historical variations in the norms that are used as the standard against which deviance is judgedSubjective refer to processes of social construction Contemporary society constructionist perspective predominatesthus interactionist and critical perspectives are the lenses through which sexuality is most often studiedInteractionist address the processes by which people come to understand and attribute meaning to their own sexuality and the sexuality of others ex interviewing gayslesbians to find out what the closet means to themCritical analyze the ways that power influences peoples understandings and attributions of meaning Foucaultemphasized elite discourse the knowledge about sexuality that is conveyed by those in authority and comes to be perceived as truth Ex sexual behavior and sexual identity do not always correspond one ccan engage in a particular behavior and yet not perceive that behavior to be an essential component of ones selfwasnt thuntil the science of psychology begin to propose the existence of the self in 19 century that homosexual identities became possiblePresent day foucauldians who study sexuality analyze the ways that scientific political legal religious and media discourses of sexuality place limits on what kind of personssexuality is acceptableThe Cultural and Historical Construction of SexualityThe Sambia of New Guineacharacterized bypatriarchy social power embedded in the males and misogyny extreme disgusthatred of women believed presence of females polluted boys and would prevent development of masculinity crucial for fighting in warage 710 males removed from society into an allmale enclave for the next 1015 yearsbelieved that semen was the source of masculinity and that it had to be transmitted to boys so they could become warriors thus fellatio occurred between older males and the boysmoved from being the fellator to the fellatee when progressing through adolescence at marriage would move out of male enclave and begin having sex with wives while continuing same sex activities with segregated younger maleswhen a mans first child was born he would no longer participate in same sex activities except for a short period when a new group of boys would be moved into all male enclavewe would place these males into categories homosexuals when they are boys bisexuals as adults and sexual activities bw males and boys and pedophiliabut these categories dont exist in the Sambian society and are seen as normalsambian practices of ritualized homosexuality has both social and religious purposes reproduce society they live in that distinct the roles of males and femalesallows males to become effective warriorsRaises ethical issues if sexual activity bw boys and men is acceptable in the Sambian society does it mean its acceptable in the world at largeSambian society illustrates normative variation objectivist perspective and social construction subjectivist perspectivedramatic Sambian example can contribute to ethnocentrism the belief that ones own culture is superior to another cultureAncient AthensAncient Greeks are believed to be the foundation upon which western socieites are built technology medicine philosophy political systemsinfluence the lives we live todayBut there are considerable differences in meaningsstructures of sexuality th5 Century BC AthensClear relationship between power and what is normaldeviant sexualityAristocratic menhighest level of poweronly people to be considered citizens of Athenian society slaves women and ppl outside Greece were not considered citizens of the stateThus a wide range of sexual activities were permitted for aristocratic malessexual relationships with aristocratic females slaves foreignersexpected to sexually satisfy the menAristocratic males could also form relationships with adolescent aristocratic boysNo distinction bw heterosexual and homosexualrather these diverse sexual relationships and activities represented a single state available to adult male citizensControlling deviance was also important and social typing process was evidentEx sex is unidirectional relationship bw superior and inferior not mutual relationship bw 2 equals ex malefemale maleboy maleslave but not two male citizensBut certain laws existed prohibited sexual activities bw dusk and dawn when the greater level of isolation might enable deviant sexual behaviours to occurMales were expected to move from passive to dominant as they grew otherwise would be subject to humiliation and shameAnal intercourse bw malesunacceptable bc it meant man was acting like a woman only women could receiveIf men engaged in analforbidden to ever become citizen of the state forbidden to voteparticipate in politics would be dealt with by justice system and could potentially lose his lifeWhat was perceived as normal sexuality was of considerable rangemartial sex for the purpose of producing male heirs and sex with females slaves foreigners for pleasure
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