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Drawing on original empirical research, this book provides a critical understanding of current theory in the study of sexuality.
Inter-disciplinary in approach, Jennifer Harding identifies a series of key issues on contemporary discourses: essentialism vs constructionism; gender and sexuality; representation and concepts of identity; Foucalut's notion of `discourse'; and Butler's theory of gender `performance'. These topics are explored in the light of contemporary cultural contexts - for instance, the debate on hormone theory and the social construction of sexuality, `gender bending' and masculinity, the maternal body, queer families, and constructions of motherhood and fatherhood. Critical summaries of the main debates in the field are presented in an accessible way, while the text forms an insightful guide to the dilemmas involved in the private/public divide.
Jennifer Harding is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communications at London Guildhall University.