Forms of Desire: Sexual Orientation and the Social Constructionist Controversy

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Edward Stein
Psychology Press, 1990 - Social Science - 366 pages
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"Perhaps the central issue in the emerging area of inquiry known as lesbian and gay studies is the social constructionist controversy. Social constructionism is the view that the categories of sexual orientation (the category "homosexual" in particular, but also the categories "heterosexual" and "bisexual") are cultural constructs rather than universal categories of nature. According to this view, it makes no sense to say, for example, that Socrates was a homosexual because the cultural kind had not yet been constructed. Forms of Desire brings together important essays by social constructionists and their critics representing several disciplines and several different approaches to this debate about the history and science of sexuality. The recent social constructionist viewpoint has its contemporary sources in two different schools of thought: continental philosophy as represented by Michel Foucault and the social interactionist school of sociology as represented by Mary McIntosh.The position's more distant ancestry involves the philosophical position known as nominalism. By bringing together papers which discuss different versions of social constructionism, as well as a number of papers critical of the view, the anthology provides easy access to the important essays on the topic and makes more transparent both the position and its genealogy. Contributors: John Boswell, Arnold Davidson, Wayne R. Dynes, Steven Epstein, Michel Foucault, Ian Hacking, Mary McIntosh, Robert Padgug, Edward Stein, Leonore Tiefer, James Weinrich." http://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0651/91037164-d.html.
 

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Contents

The Perverse Implantation Michel Foucault
11
The Homosexual Role Mary McIntosh
25
Sexual Matters On Conceptualizing
43
Making Up People Ian Hacking
69
Sex and the Emergence of Sexuality
89
Concepts Experience and Sexuality
133
Reality or Social Construction?
175
Wrestling with the Social Boa Constructor
209
Social Constructionism
295
Conclusion The Essentials
325
Bibliography
355
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Beyond Sexuality
Tim Dean
Limited preview - 2000
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About the author (1990)

Edward Stein is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Research Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University. A specialist in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and gay and lesbian studies, he is co-founder of the Boston area Gay and Lesbian Academic Study Seminar.