Heterosexuality is a largely ‘silent’ set of practices and identities – it is assumed to be everywhere and yet often remains unnamed and unexplored. Despite recent changes in the theoretical understanding and representation of sexuality, heterosexuality continues to be socially normative.
Forging a new agenda for the study of heterosexuality, this in-depth volume, the first research monograph to focus on heterosexuality and society, presents an empirical study of the construction, negotiation and enactment of heterosexual sexuality. Using detailed interview data, it investigates how heterosexuality, as both an identity and a set of practices, is accomplished through love relationships. Rather than assuming that romantic love is an outcome or expression of a pre-defined sexuality, Johnson explores how sexuality is brought to life through love.
Situated in the ongoing theoretical debates concerning the relationship between gender and sexuality, Paul Johnson’s book shows how ways of loving are interwoven with the construction, practice, regulation and government of heterosexuality. Excellently written, this important book also looks at gender in society, and explores such areas as heterosexual subjectivities and the borders of desire. As such, the research it contains will be valuable for all students of sociology and gender studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Making love, doing heterosexuality 1. The Essence of Love 2. Making Love and Regulating Sex 3. The Lack of Love: Producing heterosexual subjectivities 4. Haunting Heterosexuality: Homosexuality and the borders of desire 5. The Escape of Desire, The Constraints of Love Conclusion Appendix Bibliography
Paul Johnson is Professor of Sociology at the University of York, UK.
"A challenging and thoughtful book." Sociology