By John Gagnon

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

Gagnon should be top often called the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a publication 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 commonly thought of to be an important research of human sexual habit because the Kinsey file. The essays amassed the following first hint the effect of scripting idea on Gagnon, outlining the unconventional departure he took from the dominant organic and psychiatric types of intercourse study. the amount then turns to more moderen essays that contemplate such vexed concerns as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, detrimental intercourse, and the social points of sexually transmitted illnesses.

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Extra resources 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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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. The wind blowing from the west was thick with mutant molecules. It carried the taint from the packing houses and tanneries and the heavy metals and complex organic waste from the vents of factories.

These were only the first of a long series of misunderstandings be­ tween the university and me, misunderstandings often of my making, to which the university remained generously indifferent until they became 8 Prologue a bureaucratic irritant. Kindly deans then resolved them in my favor be­ cause they thought I had promise, but of such misunderstandings and forgivenesses are disorderly careers made. My first term in the college was exquisite. I can still recall the syllabi and I still reread many of the assigned texts.

I was fourteen. I went to church until I was seventeen; I worried a bit about taking the wafer in my mouth An Unlikely S t ory 5 without going to confession, but that passed. When I got to the Univer­ sity of Chicago, I read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man and dis­ covered a more courageous ancestor. My father died in the spring of my apostasy. A man in a green mack­ intosh came to the door at about four-thirty in the afternoon and asked where my mother was. He was the designated messenger, probably hav­ ing been given the nasty job because he lived nearby: They don't have a phone, Charley, so you'll have to do it.

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