An Interpretation of Desire: Essays in the Study of by John Gagnon

By John Gagnon

An Interpretation of Desire deals a bracing selection of significant essays through John Gagnon, one of many top and most galvanizing figures in sexual study. Spanning his paintings from the Nineteen Seventies, while he explored the concept sexuality is mediated via social tactics and categories—thus paving the best way for Foucault—and then extending via his flip to problems with hope throughout the Nineties, those essays represent an important entrée to the research of sexuality within the 20th century.

Gagnon can be most sensible referred to as the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a e-book that brought the seminal suggestion of sexual scripting—and as one of many coauthors of The Social association of Sexuality, a foundational paintings that's greatly thought of to be crucial examine of human sexual habit because the Kinsey record. The essays accrued the following first hint the impact of scripting concept on Gagnon, outlining the unconventional departure he took from the dominant organic and psychiatric versions of intercourse study. the amount then turns to more moderen essays that ponder such vexed matters as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, unsafe intercourse, and the social points of sexually transmitted illnesses.

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We stood at the open door. When would she be home ? I was not sure. We shuffled about for a moment or two. Then he told me that my father had died that day at work. He said he was sorry to have to bring the message, especially sorry to have to deliver it to a kid, but he couldn't wait around because he had to get home to his family and, well, he was sorry. I called the shipyard on a pay phone, hoping there had been a mistake, but they told me no mistake had been made. My mother came back an hour later, and I told her just like that.

The comforting rounds of young faculty lives worked themselves out against the shaping purposes of university rhythms. We were allowed to be thoughtless because it had all been so well thought out before. When I arrived at the Institute for Sex Research it was dying in the quiet way most institutions die, by reenacting its old routines. Indeed, the result of my first years there was a book that was the end of a tradition, the last of the great statistical life history studies of the varieties of sex offenders.

Books, partic­ ularly books that were not true, became ( and remain) the most important source of knowledge in my life. Everything that has happened to me since then first became known to me through the scrim of text. I learned about tongue kissing when reading Forever Amber (a book they nearly did not let me take out) and about the thrill of looking up a girl's skirt from Studs Lonigan, a thrill I acquired without knowing what I was supposed to be looking at. I caught the disease of science fiction while skipping catechism les­ sons for confirmation.

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