By John Gagnon
An Interpretation of Desire bargains a bracing choice of significant essays through John Gagnon, one of many prime and most galvanizing figures in sexual examine. Spanning his paintings from the Nineteen Seventies, whilst he explored the concept that sexuality is mediated via social approaches and categories—thus paving the way in which for Foucault—and then extending via his flip to problems with wish in the course of the Nineties, those essays represent a necessary entrée to the examine of sexuality within the 20th century.
Gagnon can be most sensible referred to as the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a booklet that brought the seminal inspiration of sexual scripting—and as one of many coauthors of The Social association of Sexuality, a foundational paintings that's largely thought of to be crucial research of human sexual habit because the Kinsey file. The essays amassed the following first hint the effect of scripting idea on Gagnon, outlining the unconventional departure he took from the dominant organic and psychiatric types of intercourse examine. the quantity then turns to more moderen essays that examine such vexed concerns as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, harmful intercourse, and the social points of sexually transmitted ailments.
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Additional info for An Interpretation of Desire: Essays in the Study of Sexuality (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture)
I recollect some division of labor in the begin ning: Bill supplied more of the disciplinary orientation, and I knew the substance of the research area. As we collaborated further, that difference grew less, and the balance and weight in contribution changed from proj ect to project, paper to paper-indeed, from one period to another. Each of the research projects was an attempt to bring the field of sexu ality under the control of a sociological orientation. The novelty of what we did then was to lay a sociological claim to an aspect of social life that seemed determined by biology or psychology, but a claim that differed from Kingsley Davis's mechanical functionalism.
I could not face dealing with the faculty at Chicago, even though they were un failingly nice in my sporadic attempts at finding a dissertation topic. Just walking on campus I could feel my IQ falling. It was that most paralyzing of afflictions: I had avoided a hurdle because I was afraid to fail; I then be came so contemptuous of the hurdle and the hurdle holders that it was impossible for me to jump. D. made me expert on why graduate students should hang around and finish their degrees at all costs, but it also made me uncritical of those who do not.
He was looking for someone trained in the social sciences who was knowl edgeable about working-class and criminal populations (the lower social level, ISR people called them) and comfortable with the topic. Kinsey had been dead for two years, and the current team was completing the inter viewing, data analysis, and writing for the publication of a major volume on sex offenders. I was more than a little ambivalent about the prospect of sex research (about which I had read only the selection on sexual behavior and social class in Class, Status, and Power, edited by Reinhard Bendix and Seymour Martin Lipset, 1953), and I was about as relaxed about the topic as any other upwardly mobile former Irish Catholic man.
An Interpretation of Desire: Essays in the Study of Sexuality (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture) by John Gagnon