Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Sexuality in Focus" - February 2013 Issue of Graduate Journal of Social Science

There are some interesting articles in the new issue of the Graduate Journal of Social Science (GJSS) with a focus on Sexuality in Focus, Volume 10 Issue 1, February 2013. You can download the full issue at this link:

Full Issue
GJSS February 2013, Volume 10, Issue 1 [PDF]
Among the more interesting articles, to me, are the following:

Editorial: Sexualities in the Margins: Creating a Space for Conversations
Arpita Das, Annelies Kleinherenbrink and Ebtihal Mahadeen
GJSS 2013 10:1, pp. 7-12. [PDF]

Here is the beginning of the editorial, which serves to introduce the topic and the papers in this issue:
Although intrinsic to one’s being, sexuality remains a controversial and taboo subject around the world. While certain cultures may appear to be more forthcoming in discussing certain aspects of sexuality, holistic discussions are still in short supply everywhere. In addition, whereas open conversations on sexuality are almost invisible in certain regions, in others they are mostly limited to the heterosexual, white, non-disabled, monogamous and marital realms. In some regions, the mainstream discourses on sexuality are limited to ambits of reproduction and reproductive health alone, thereby rendering invisible conversations on, for example, non-marital and nonheterosexual sexualities. In others still, it may be easier to talk about sexuality in the contexts of public health and/or sexual abuse and assault. However these discussions may again be limited to specific populations. For example, it could be claimed that it is more acceptable to talk about sexual violence against women and girls, but these conversations become strained in the context of sexual assault of men and boys as the social construction of masculinity imagines men as only the perpetrators, but never the victims and survivors, of sexual violence. Thus, although conversations around sexuality have undoubtedly shifted and expanded in the past few years, they still remain confined to the stereotypical stranglehold. Discussions and debates around affirmative sexuality and sexual rights remain scarce or limited to certain spaces, and we often find that even when sexuality is discussed, certain sexualities are deemed legitimate while others are pronounced perverse, immoral, unhealthy or illegitimate.  
This special edition of the Graduate Journal of Social Science (GJSS) is inspired by a unique event, which sought to create a space to talk about marginalized aspects of sexuality. The 2011 NOISE (Network of Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies in Europe) summer school ran in Breukelen, the Netherlands, under the title The Miraculous (Dis)-Appearing Act of Sexuality: Mapping the Study of Sexuality in Europe, 1960-2010. It was there that we, the editors of this special issue, met as participants. The academic institute created a space for conversations on an eclectic selection of subjects – including the history of sexualities in Europe, lesbian and gay sexualities, the emergence of heterosexuality as a concept, intersexualization, homonationalism, as well as nuanced discussions on homosexuality, bisexuality, queer and transgender politics, amongst other topics. Conversations during this academic institute opened up avenues to reflect on many of the unconventional, the invisible and the marginalized aspects of sexuality. Sexuality in Focus emerged from the discussions and debates in Breukelen, and we hope that this diverse collection of papers will speak to a diverse range of readers and academics who are engaged and invested in the broader realm of sexuality studies.
I thought each of these articles to be interesting and informative, especially the piece on pansexuality as opposition the fixed heteronormative models of sexual identity.

Establishing Asexual Identity: The Essential, the Imaginary, and the Collective
Agata Pacho
GJSS 2013 10:1, pp. 13-35. [PDF]

Abstract. Sexuality is seen as a crucial aspect of one's identification and sexual desire is perceived as the core of one's identity. Therefore, the emergence of an asexual identity constitutes a radical disruption of approaches to identity and epistemology in social science. This study explores a virtual community of asexual individuals who engage in discussions about contradictory processes of identification, the instability of sexual identities, gender relations and possible representations of asexuality. This work locates the process of sustaining an asexual identity and its representation within a broader critique of essentialist positions. Furthermore, it investigates the distinctive features of on-line communities and the implications of the Internet in their establishment. These findings may lead to a better understanding of asexuality as well as an enhanced insight into the social and cultural negotiations over the sexual.


Pansexual Identification in Online Communities: Employing a Collaborative Queer Method to Study Pansexuality
Ayisigi Hale Gonel
GJSS 2013 10:1, pp. 36-60. [PDF]

Abstract. The research investigates different aspects of pansexual self-identification within contemporary online communities. To explore this, it is asked whether pansexual identification constitutes an anti-identity position against conservative conceptualisations of identity, as well as the new-homonormativities that mainstream LGBTQ movements of the West engage in to invest in normalcy. It must be noted that, while the research has the deconstructionist focus of queer theory, the anti-identity position of pansexuality investigated does not refer to a performative failure of the subject. As stated, the anti-identity position proposed is pansexual identification's possible opposition to 'traditional' and fixed readings of identity, and the 'respectable' features of new-homonormativities. The study explores the way in which pansexuality is understood as a multiple and flexible identity that exists in stark opposition to binaries of sex and gender in the eyes of the research respondents. As the research investigates pansexual identifications online by gathering data through an online survey, it follows a collaborative queer method that represents a conjunction of queer theory, sociology and cyberstudies.


The Experimental Neuro-Framing of Sexuality
Isabelle Dussauge
GJSS 2013 10:1, pp. 124-151. [PDF]

Abstract. Brain scans of homosexuality, sexual desire and images of male and female brain function are becoming a common element of popular scientific news. How is sexuality re-described and re-produced when studied in brain scanners? This article explores the cultural production of sexuality in the growing field of neuroimaging research. In focus is the neural framing of sexuality, i.e. the process by which sexuality is understood as a matter of brain activity and visualizable with medical imaging technologies. The neuroframing of sexual- ity enables a reproduction of socio-cultural notions of difference, but also of neuroscience's own notions of agency. The neural framing of sexuality re- mediates an idealized sexuality: ageless, neatly oriented, bodiless although haunted by the de-animated body, unfolding neatly as a sequential response of a psychological inside to an inanimate outside, and essentialized as independent from its feelers and objects.

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