Sexual Fields: Toward a Sociology of Collective Sexual Life

University of Chicago Press
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In the late modern period, an unprecedented expansion of specialized erotic worlds has transformed the domain of intimate life. Organized by appetites and dispositions related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, and age, these erotic worlds are arenas of sexual exploration but, also, sites of stratification and dominion wherein actors vie for partners, social significance, and esteem. These are what Adam Isaiah Green calls sexual fields, which represent a semblance of social life for which he offers a groundbreaking new framework.

To build on the sexual fields framework, Green has gathered a distinguished group of scholars who together make a strong case for sexual field theory as the first systematic theoretical innovation since queer theory in the sociology of sexuality. Expanding on the work of Bourdieu, Green and contributors develop this distinctively sociological approach for analyzing collective sexual life, where much of the sexual life of our society resides today. Coupling field theory with the ethnographic and theoretical expertise of some of the most important scholars of sexual life at work today, Sexual Fields offers a game-changing approach that will revolutionize how sociologists analyze and make sense of contemporary sexual life for years to come.
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About the author

Adam Isaiah Green is associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. A native of New York City, he lives in Toronto.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Dec 17, 2013
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780226085043
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Gender Studies
Social Science / General
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
Social Science / Sociology / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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This content is DRM protected.
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From neighborhoods as large as Chelsea or the Castro, to locales limited to a single club, like The Shamrock in Madison or Sidewinders in Albuquerque, gay areas are becoming normal. Straight people flood in. Gay people flee out. Scholars call this transformation assimilation, and some argue that we—gay and straight alike—are becoming “post-gay.” Jason Orne argues that rather than post-gay, America is becoming “post-queer,” losing the radical lessons of sex.

In Boystown, Orne takes readers on a detailed, lively journey through Chicago’s Boystown, which serves as a model for gayborhoods around the country. The neighborhood, he argues, has become an entertainment district—a gay Disneyland—where people get lost in the magic of the night and where straight white women can “go on safari.” In their original form, though, gayborhoods like this one don’t celebrate differences; they create them. By fostering a space outside the mainstream, gay spaces allow people to develop an alternative culture—a queer culture that celebrates sex.

Orne spent three years doing fieldwork in Boystown, searching for ways to ask new questions about the connective power of sex and about what it means to be not just gay, but queer. The result is the striking Boystown, illustrated throughout with street photography by Dylan Stuckey. In the dark backrooms of raunchy clubs where bachelorettes wouldn’t dare tread, people are hooking up and forging “naked intimacy.” Orne is your tour guide to the real Boystown, then, where sex functions as a vital center and an antidote to assimilation.
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