Archive for the ‘Social theory’ Category

Early Societal Development of Patriarchy & Sexual Repression

In Greenburg, Patriarchy, Repression, Social theory, Socioeconomics on 15 July, 2010 at 07:06

Modern thinking on human sexuality is itself an end-product of the biological evolution and cultural elaboration of sexual attraction in humans and, thus, stands in a reflexive relationship to its own subject matter.

The categories through which people think about the world are derived from the structure of the society in which they live…[there is] a correspondence between a society’s social structure and the way those who live in that society experience their bodies.

Various forms of sexual control – most notably rigid regulation of sexual expression, asceticism, and female marginality – were developed in early mass societies that laid the groundwork for their continued expression in modern Western civilizations. I argue that these social control mechanisms proved their value initially through the mechanisms implicit in the development of agriculturalist societies, and following that centralized government and Kyriocentrism brought about through stratified, hierarchical socio-political systems.

Throughout this analysis, a specific set of sociological and anthropological terminology is used to describe specific phenomena and social patterns. Kyriocentrism specifies an expanded definition of androcentrism which specifies elite men at the center of a society and highlights their difference from both elite women as well as men, women, children, slaves and servants of all lower social classes. It intentionally divides a society into elite men vs. all others, and is therefore more appropriate in usage in certain contexts than patriarchy or androcentrism. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Prostitution in America in the Late 1800s & Social Perception in Regards to Cultural Attitudes and Filial Piety

In Chinese-American, Filial piety, Sex work, Sexuality, Social theory, Socioeconomics on 15 July, 2010 at 06:36

Filial piety describes a view common in Confucian and Buddhist thought of an overall respect,  love, and moral obligation to one’s parents. More specifically, it specifies “to take care of one’s parents;  not be rebellious; show love, respect and support; display courtesy; ensure male heirs; uphold fraternity among brothers; wisely advise one ‘s parents; conceal their mistakes; display sorrow for their sickness and death; and carry  out sacrifices after their death.” It is a concept very much involved in the social  changes occurring within the Chinese population immigrating to the United States – specifically California – in the mid- to late-1800s, and the reaction of the population to a dramatically different social and cultural climate. It is this concept of filial piety that is discussed here in relation to the position of Chinese women – in particular prostitutes – inextricably intertwined in a male- dominated ethnic enclave within an overbearingly racist dominant society. Read the rest of this entry »

Postindustrialism, Socioeconomics, & Sexual Commerce

In Bernstein, Sex work, Sexuality, Social theory, Socioeconomics on 15 July, 2010 at 03:56

Prostitution in postindustrial societies such as the United States is experiencing dramatic reorganization – sex workers are no longer necessarily the poorest, most marginalized strata, but are instead coming from the more educated middle class. This demographic shift is intricately related to and reflective of a shift in the character of the variety of sexual labour being bought and sold from a quick and dirty sexual release to an authentic experience of sexual intimacy, eroticism, and desire. The unremarkable advertisement of sex workers as providing the girlfriend experience, in which women attempt to provide a level of intimacy typically ascribed to intimate interpersonal relationships, exemplifies a deliberate attempt to fill a growing niche market for the sale and purchase of sexual activity with a greater value than that of traditional prostitution – the additive qualities of intimacy, sensuality and eroticism – to a market of largely overworked professional men.

The rapid shift from public outdoor street prostitution to privatized indoor sex work is actively encouraged by political figures worldwide, who seek to clear regions of public exposure for inner-city gentrification, not necessarily to eradicate solicitation of the new sexual leisure activities. Sex work has experienced dramatic changes in its character in the last twenty years due to sometimes subtle yet highly influential structural mechanisms, such as the rise of post-industrialism and hence subsequent changes in socioeconomic patterns/ economic restructuring, which served to redefine the character of sex work; that redefinition has been termed bounded authenticity by sociologist Elizabeth Bernstein. Read the rest of this entry »

Foucault and the Erotic Construction of Power Exchange

In Foucault, Power play, Sexuality, Social theory on 15 July, 2010 at 03:06

“To most people, power is a political, economic, or social phenomenon which often entails the assertion of superiority over others for personal or group gain. But to D&Sers, the power exchange between lovers is a fundamental source of erotic excitement, shared by equals, and is often an intellectually enlightening experience.”

Although many once-considered deviant sexual practices are beginning to achieve a degree of public awareness and understanding, certain behaviors such as BDSM (bondage and discipline & sadism and masochism), also known as D&S (dominance and submission), continue to be misinterpreted and misunderstood. The non-conventional/ non-conservative sexual engagements of BDSM/D&S are viewed by the dominant culture (the capitalist conservative right) to be pathological, deviant, abusive, and problematic. I wish to propose that this viewpoint is a popular misconception brought on by unfamiliarity or miseducation of what those forms of sexual activity entail as well the as reasons why people choose to engage in these activities. Read the rest of this entry »