Cosmopolitan Sexualities

Cosmopolitan Sexualities : Hope and the Humanist Imagination

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How are we to live with the wide varieties of sexuality and gender found across the rapidly changing global order? Whilst some countries have legislated in favour of same-sex marriage and the United Nations makes declarations about gender and sexual equality, many countries across the world employ punitive responses to such differences. In this compelling and original study, Ken Plummer argues the need for a practical utopian project of hope that he calls `cosmopolitan sexualities'. He asks: how can we connect our differences with collective values, our uniqueness with multiple group belonging, our sexual and gendered individualities with a broader common humanity? Showing how a foundation for this new ethics, politics and imagination are evolving across the world, he discusses the many possible pitfalls being encountered. He highlights the complexity of sexual and gender cultures, the ubiquity of human conflict, the difficulties of dialogue and the problems with finding any common ground for our humanity.Cosmopolitan Sexualities takes a bold critical humanist view and argues the need for positive norms to guide us into the future. Highlighting the vulnerability of the human being, Plummer goes in search of historically grounded and potentially global human values like empathy and sympathy, care and kindness, dignity and rights, human flourishing and social justice. These harbour visions of what is acceptable and unacceptable in the sexual and intimate life. Clearly written, the book speaks to important issues of our time and will interest all those who are struggling to finding ways to live together well in spite of our different genders and more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 248 pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • 0745695086
  • 9780745695082

Table of contents

Boxes x Website xi Abbreviations xii Introduction 1 A troubled world 3 A tale to tell 5 An infinity of lists 8 Part One: Humanism and the Making of Cosmopolitan Sexualities 11 1 Plural Sexualities: Making Valued Human Lives 13 Plural lives 14 Contingency and the varieties of sexual experience 16 Critical humanism 20 Humanist troubles 22 Vulnerability and the dignity of the self 26 Plural values, valued lives 29 Search for common humanities 30 A world ethics for critical humanism? 32 Valued sexual lives 36 2 Transformational Sexualities: Making Twenty-First-Century Sexual Lives 39 Transformational sexualities 40 Reproductive sexualities, techno sexualities 44 Mediated sexualities 45 Electronic sexualities 47 Familial sexualities 50 Gendered sexualities 52 Violent sexualities 53 Post-honour sexualities 54 Secular, sacred and fundamentalist sexualities 56 Commodified sexualities 58 Urban sexualities and their assemblages 61 AIDS and sexualities 63 Divided sexualities, pauperized sexualities 64 Individualized, reflective sexualities 65 Migrating, diasporic and hybrid sexualities 67 Global sexualities/mobile sexualities 68 Conclusion: Making sexual politics 69 3 Cosmopolitan Sexualities: Living With Different Lives 71 On cosmopolitanism 72 Constructing cosmopolitan sexualities in a global arena 74 Troubles ahead: the contradictions and limits of cosmopolitanism 88 The (very) long walk to cosmopolitan sexualities 101 Part Two: Inclusive Sexualities: Nudging Towards a Better World 103 4 Cultural Sexualities: Cultivating Awareness of Complexity 105 Global sexualities and research 107 World cultures and macro sexualities 110 Impure cultures and subterranean sexualities 116 Local cultures and micro sexualities 123 Conclusion: complex cultures 130 5 Contested Sexualities: Inventing Enemies, Making Boundaries 131 Scaling the battlegrounds 133 Divisive sexualities, agonistic politics 135 The fault line of contested sexualities 141 On boundaries, belonging and the vulnerabilities of normativity 143 Normative sexualities 145 Vulnerable sexualities 150 Looking ahead 153 6 Communicative Sexualities: On the Hope and Empathy for a Common Global Humanity 155 Empathic sexualities 156 Narrative sexualities 161 Dialogic sexualities 164 Ethical sexualities 167 Democratic sexualities 175 Bleak sexualities 179 Hopeful sexualities 182 The little grounded everyday `utopian' processes of global hope 183 In the end 187 Epilogue: Contingent Sexualities - Dancing into the Sexual Labyrinth 190 Personal tales 193 Textual tales 194 Research tales 196 Troubled tales 198 Mobile tales 200 Notes 202 References 232 Index: 100 Samples of Multiple Sexualities 268 Index: General 270show more

Review quote

"Plummer has given us a new sexology for our age... Warning us not to take our stereotypes for granted, he takes us through sexualities in China, in Africa and in Middle Eastern societies, and organises sexualities into global zones, regional discrepancies and local eruptions."Times Higher Education "Ken Plummer's new work on sexualities is a carefully constructed book designed to captivate students and scholars with an interest in sexuality studies...a thoroughly enjoyable read which leaves the reader with a comprehensive knowledge of sexualities and a hopeful perspective for a humanistic world." James Pickles, Network Review "This is a book of deep knowledge and passionate commitment. It is the culmination of a lifetime's work on the sociology, culture and politics of sexuality, and is suffused with a critical humanism that offers a guide for the perplexed troubled by our contemporary sexual labyrinth. It is a landmark of sexual scholarship."Jeffrey Weeks, London South Bank University"Ken Plummer helped define the field of sexuality studies, and now he pushes well beyond its boundaries, taking on big questions of social theory. Cosmopolitan Sexualities uses the lens of sexuality studies to grapple with debates about belonging and difference in our rapidly globalizing world. Plummer has read absolutely everything, and in this book he offers a comprehensive, often dazzling road map of the myriad changes which are simultaneously remaking intimate life and macro worlds, and what they tell us about what it means to be human."Arlene Stein, Rutgers Universityshow more

About Ken Plummer

Ken Plummer is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. Amongst his key books are Sexual Stigma (1975), The Making of the Modern Homosexual (1981), Telling Sexual Stories (1995), Documents of Life (2001), Intimate Citizenship (2003) and Sociology: The Basics (2010). He was the founder editor of more

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