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Policing Sexuality

Policing Sexuality

Julian C. H. Lee


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Policing Sexuality explores the regulation of sexual behaviour and identity by nation states, and questions how and why states have sought to influence and control the sexuality of its citizens. Julian C. H. Lee presents both theoretical and ethnographic literature, distilling common themes and causes and presenting factors that contribute towards a state's desire to control both the sexual behaviour and sexual identity of its citizens, such as the influence of colonialism, class, religion and national identity. Featuring five crucial case studies from India, Britain, the USA, Malaysia and Turkey, this fascinating comparative account challenges the coercive control state authority worldwide exert over the sexuality of its citizens.
Julian C. H. Lee is a Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University. He previously held an Economic and Social Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Kent. As well as numerous articles in journals and other publications, he is the author of Islamization and Activism in Malaysia (2010) and the editor of The Malaysian Way of Life (2010). He is also involved in organizations that advocate for sexuality rights and women's rights in Malaysia.
'Policing the body politic always entails sequestering the body sexual; the questions are only how and why, exactly where and when. This trans-regional examination of the different, and always self-contradictory, modalities of sexual state control and self-control is a treasure chest. Authors from Michel Foucault to Judith Butler would pawn one of their books to read this one: a combination of socio-cultural anatomies with humanist thinking. The anthropological wealth and comparative sociological imagination of this painstaking, yet amazingly easy-to-read book are scholarship at its best: accessible but never simplifying, liberating but never patronizing.' - Gerd Baumann, University of Amsterdam, author of Contesting Culture (1996), The Multicultural Riddle (1999) and Grammars of Identity / Alterity: A Structural Approach (2005) 'In a moment when state policies seeking to regulate sexual expression have emerged under many cultural and religious banners, affecting a wide range of sexual subjects, Julian Lee gives us an invaluable map to understand this moral policing more clearly and comprehensively. Policing Sexuality is exceptional among recent works on sexuality, gender and public policy in providing a rich comparative analysis across five major country contexts encompassing both South and North. Lee's eye for complexity along with his gift for lucid, straightforward prose illuminates “the evolutionary nature of sexuality rights and empowerment” and shows why we must never view culture as static or given nor human rights as sufficient without political struggle.' - Rosalind P. Petchesky, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York; author, Global Prescriptions: Gendering Health and Human Rights (2003); Sexuality, Health and Human Rights (with Sonia Corrêa and Richard Parker, 2008)

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the author\r ii
Introduction 1
1 | Gender, Sex, and Sexuality 7
Coming to terms 7
Beyond sexual orientation (and towards sex/gender systems) 11
Hijras of India 13
Categorizing sex 15
Sex and the natural order 16
Judith Butler and queer theory 17
Michel Foucault 22
Addressing the State 24
2 | From Society 27
An evolutionary approach 27
Claude Lévi-Strauss and the impact of marriage systems 31
The impact of cosmologies 34
Gerda Lerner and socio-economic transformations 37
Sherry B. Ortner: is female to male as nature is to culture? 38
Marvin Harris and the cultural materialist perspective 40
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Ortner on the disempowering impact of marriage for women 42
Eleanor Leacock on the universality of female subordination 44
3 | To the State 46
Managing the population 46
The character of citizens 49
Saving the nation from ‘Others’ 51
Protecting women’s honour in Muslim States 54
The historical development of veiling 57
The impact of religion on politics: a political idiom 58
The impact of religion: more than an idiom 61
Women in Muslim States in the contemporary world context 62
The impact of urbanization and modernization 66
Conclusion 68
4 | India 70
Section 377 and the order of nature 70
The consequences of dowry 73
The context of dowry 76
The importance of virginity 78
Sati 81
5 | The United States of America 83
Homosexuality in the US 83
Courts of law and heteronormativity 85
Same-sex marriage 88
Accounting for the prevalence of negative attitudes towards same-sex marriage 91
The impact of HIV/AIDS 93
Marriage and migration 95
6 | Malaysia 97
Historical acceptance of sexual diversity 98
Colonization and the bureaucratization of Malaysian life 99
Islam and Malay identity and power 101
The effect of economic and technological modernization 103
The impact of international politics and globalization 106
7 | Turkey 109
The Turkish gender cosmology 110
Virginity testing 112
Honour killings 114
The image of the contemporary Turkish woman and theeffects of EU aspirations 116
8 | Britain 121
The Wolfenden Report 122
British colonialism and Section 377 125
Oscar Wilde 129
Conclusion 132
9 | Comparing the Case Studies 134
Concerning marriage 134
Religion 135
Social and economic transformations 136
The disparate State 137
The impact of Others 140
Conclusion 140
10 | The Terrain of Sexuality Rights 142
Engaging with religion 142
Globalization 145
Sexual citizenship 147
International NGOs, the United Nations, and the Yogyakarta Principles 150
Conclusion 158
References 168
Index 183