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By John Gagnon

An Interpretation of Desire deals a bracing number of significant essays via John Gagnon, one of many major and most provoking figures in sexual examine. Spanning his paintings from the Nineteen Seventies, whilst he explored the concept that sexuality is mediated via social tactics and categories—thus paving the best way for Foucault—and then extending via his flip to problems with wish throughout the Nineties, those essays represent a vital entrée to the learn of sexuality within the 20th century.

Gagnon might be top often called the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a booklet that brought the seminal notion of sexual scripting—and as one of many coauthors of The Social association of Sexuality, a foundational paintings that's generally thought of to be crucial learn of human sexual habit because the Kinsey record. The essays accumulated the following first hint the effect of scripting concept on Gagnon, outlining the novel departure he took from the dominant organic and psychiatric versions of intercourse study. the quantity then turns to more moderen essays that reflect on such vexed concerns as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, unsafe intercourse, and the social elements of sexually transmitted illnesses.

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Additional info for An Interpretation of Desire: Essays in the Study of Sexuality (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture)

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The Kinsey ethos was to subordinate the individual to the goals of the collective (usually iden­ tified with Kinsey's). For example, until after William Simon and I left, no individual researcher received royalties for books or honoraria for speeches; all those moneys were contributed to the institute's own funds. The volume on sex offenders was a collective project conceived in the Kin­ sey era; it rested on interviews collected before 1960, and the analysis and writing of that book dominated our efforts until 1963.

I suspected that the first great love affair of my life was ending and hoped that if I could make an honest man of myself, she might think more positively of our sharing the future together. So I tried to get some vocational counseling as I slithered down the occupational aspiration scale. It is difficult to communicate the fusing of heat and smell of an Au­ gust day in the Chicago of the 1950S. The sky was bleached milky white, the edges of red buildings quivered in the heat, whereas the edge between shadow and light was hard, the asphalt sucked at the soles of shoes.

Was he already in Cal­ ifornia for other reasons ? It all seemed natural to me at the time. Was this not what all universities did? Much later I was told (perhaps falsely) that these recruiting efforts were part of an attempt to increase the national representation in the college. This I assume to be a code phrase for not having all of the undergraduate students-except the disappearing ex­ GIs-be young Jews from Chicago and New York. I wonder sometimes who was left out when I was let in. I went to the College of the University of Chicago as an innocent.

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