Sex as a normalising technology: Early twentieth-century public sex education campaigns

Stephens, Elizabeth (2010) Sex as a normalising technology: Early twentieth-century public sex education campaigns. Psychology and Sexuality, 1 3: 262-274. doi:10.1080/19419899.2010.494903

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Author Stephens, Elizabeth
Title Sex as a normalising technology: Early twentieth-century public sex education campaigns
Journal name Psychology and Sexuality   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1941-9899
1941-9902
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/19419899.2010.494903
Volume 1
Issue 3
Start page 262
End page 274
Total pages 13
Editor Peter Cryle
Lisa Downing
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract This article examines the conceptual interdependence of sexuality and normality. It begins with an interrogation of the widespread association of queer studies and practice with, in Judith Halberstam's words, 'nonnormative logics and organisations of community, sexual identity, embodiment, and activity'. To contextualise this, the article traces the historical circumstances in which normality and sexuality emerge contemporaneously, as mutually reinforcing aspects of what Foucault has termed the disciplinary society. This article considers the ongoing impact of this history by taking as its focus the development of a public discourse about sex in the public education campaigns about venereal disease in the early-twentieth-century USA. In so doing, it aims to problematise assumptions with contemporary queer theory that 'normative' sexuality itself represents a stable status quo against which queer's celebration of the fluid and contingent can be unproblematically contrasted, by demonstrating the volatility of the sexual 'norm' itself.
Keyword Queer theory
Public sex education campaigns
Normalising technologies
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: The Natural and the Normal in the History of Sexuality. Editorial introduction by Peter Cryle and Lisa Downing.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
Centre for the History of European Discourses Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 10 Mar 2011, 10:06:20 EST by Dr Elizabeth Stephens on behalf of Centre for History of European Discourses