Monday, 12 December 2011

Studying Sexuality

There have been a couple of really interesting blogs on conferences on the theme of sexuality - and their strengths and weaknesses.  QRG writes about a recent 'Pornified' conference.  There are some interesting observations but it is limited by the fact QRG didn't actually attend.  There are difficulties in interpreting these things - perspectives and gender would have been slightly tweaked by my presence - I was invited to speak at one of these conferences but I've forgotten which - but I couldn't get funding to attend.  I suspect the same was true for a few others so it doesn't take much to skew these things.  Nonetheless, some interesting comments.

Of greater interest, and perhaps value is a post by Jane Fae on a sexology conference (which I'd also hoped to attend but once again, I find myself in a funding black hole).   Fae makes some really interesting observations about disciplines coming together - but this is in part a growing agenda from the funding bodies so it's not entirely 'organic'.  Nonetheless, some fascinating broad perspectives about what is going on in the academic discussion and exploration of sexuality.

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Elly said...

Thanks Chris for the mention. You're right I didn't attend and thank goodness - what a load of baloney.

You would not have skewed things by your presence alone. There were only 6 papers on men and masculinities, 4 by men, 2 by women. And my guess is you might not even have presented on masculinity per se. So if you'd have been in the general Sexualisation theme (and there were 2 papers on law there) you would have just been one of a few men presenting on general themes.

I was studying the conference programme which I had in front of me - secondary research is valuable, it's not all about participant observation don't you know!

Elly said...

p.s. what do you think of intersectionality as a concept?

I hate it. Because it decides who are the 'oppressed' groups intersecting and who are the 'oppressors'. And it is always white heterosexual men seen as the oppressors.

I find Fae's work reductive, feminist, and misandrist.

Elly said...

p.s. I will just add that though I didn't attend the Pornified? conference I did interview people who did, and one of them has provided more detailed info about the sessions on my blog. So that's good, no?

Chris Ashford said...

I'm assuming you interviewed 'mates'/thsoe friendly thus it's going to be very skewed.

In terms of intersectionality, I find it an interesting idea. I confess I've probably not got fully to grips with it but I have read quite a bit of work around it. Thus far, I'd say interesting but limited.

Elly said...

No Chris I didn't interview 'mates' I put a call-out on twitter under the #pornified hashtag.

I am a social researcher by trade I'm not an 'amateur'.

Elly said... fact if you read my post you'll see one of the interviewees giving me a hard time in the comments, which is a finding in itself.

janefae said...

Hmmm...well i like "intersectionality" - but then, i don't see it as NECESSARILY skewed.

Though i do see how it very frequently is.

As far as i am concerned, its a valuable corrective to the hierarchy of victimhood and could... should... if applied neutrally be a route to recovering some of the anti-male bias that you perceive.

I am please tell me if i have this wrong... that you see conferences of this sort as irredeemably anti-men or anti-masculinity? That's a genuine question: not an attempt to foist a view on you; so if i'm wrong, please put me right.

Now i have two perspectives on this, both pre-and post- transition. The pre-transition perspective, which found some echo in what i would call the liberal feminist tendency is that male perspectives tend to be excluded: so there is a big debate about sex, sexuality, sexualisation going on - and it is being conducted mostly with men excluded.

That, i'd suggest, is a bad thing: however, it is the rationale for that exclusion that is of interest.

One thing that used to frustrate me greatly was positive exclusion - and something that quite amuses me now is that i can put views and perspectives that have not shifted much from before.

But putting those views as a woman is acceptable, whilst putting them as a guy was not.

That...hmmm...well there's a massive debate in itself which MIGHT result in a conclusion that there is a silencing of the male perspective going on.

However, the other thing i am picking up massively (from being an acitivist in many areas linked to sexuality) is how far men seem to exclude themselves. In part, i guess, a response to perceived hostility.

But in part, too, it just feels like the majority of men aren't interested. I'd be interested in your take on that.


Elly said...

Hi Jane, thanks for the comments.

I think the fact men's voices are derided when it comes to matters of sexuality, sexual health etc has a big impact on the situation. The discourses, as well, of 'rapists' and predators and 'paedophiles' affect men's approach to sex/uality.

I don't think men are uninterested either. But then I am a Foucauldian and most of my knowledge about sexuality comes from queer theory which is male dominated (and which I have criticised for being so). Freud, Foucault, Simpson, Bersani, Zeeland are my guides.

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