The Story of Sexual Identity

The Story of Sexual Identity : Narrative Perspectives on the Gay and Lesbian Life Course

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When viewed through the broad lens of social history, the story of sexual identity across place and time is infused with extraordinary contextual specificity. Different cultures in different historical eras have organized human sexuality in a multiplicity of diverse forms and functions, constructing stories of sexual identity that serve a larger social structure with master narratives of what it means to be a member of a given community, culture, and society. In examining the shifting narratives of sexual identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and their impact on the process of human social development, this edited volume fuses historical, cultural, and psychological perspectives on human sexuality to articulate a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to the study of sexual lives. Recognizing the historical and cultural relativity of life-course development, the contributors seek to offer a comprehensive perspective on the ways in which identity is inherently a process of co-construction between individual and culture, thereby positing a significant role for the social in the development of sexual identity. Following a general introduction in which the volume editors explain the utility of a narrative approach to the study of sexual identity, the volume is organized into sections which deal with specific life-span considerations of sexuality: childhood and adolescence, adulthood, marriage and parenthood, and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 154 x 238 x 38mm | 938.93g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • tables
  • 0195326784
  • 9780195326789
  • 1,643,336

Review quote

"Hammack and Cohler's The Story of Sexual Identity brings together an unparalleled collection of innovative interdisciplinary narrative research projects on lesbian and gay lives. The result is a volume that pushes the study of sexual identity in many new and promising directions....It has far-reaching appeal for established students and clinicians, as well as for new investigators and graduate students. No doubt it will be useful tool and much-referenced resource for those conducting narrative research on sexuality and sexual identity."--Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health"This fine anthology will make a stimulating addition to graduate or undergraduate level courses in any of the disciplines mentioned above, especially those with a substantive focus on sexualities, gay and lesbian/queer studies, or social science methodology. More generally, it will be of interest to anyone who cares to learn more about the promise of narrative methodology and its bountiful implications for the future of social science research." --Sexualities"This is the book the field of sexual science needs-narratives from a variety of disciplines on the meanings that real people, living in real contexts, make of their same-sex sexuality. Sexual development and its implications are illustrated by stories from around the world, across time and cohort, and among a variety of ethnicities and subcultures. Inevitably, the reader's preexisting notions about same-sex desires will be altered after reading these engaging 19 chapters. Some recount the story of a single individual (a black lesbian youth) and others of a population (three generations of Czech Republic men who have sex with men). In all cases, same-sex desires are shown to generate complex lives characterized more by strength and resilience than pathology. Editors Hammack and Cohler want these narratives to inspire a new generation of social science scholars- and they certainly will. -- Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Department of Human Development, Cornell University "This book offers new ways to think about sexual identity. For too long we have observed and analyzed identity and desire from the outside. Hammack and Cohler point out that we can shift the lens, and position narratives as central to human development. This book shows us that through stories of desire and identity we not only make meaning of our lives we become engaged in our own development and in social change." -- Stephen T. Russell, Professor and Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair and Director, University of Arizona "Phillip Hammack and Bertram Cohler have assembled an extraordinary collection of scholarly essays, empirical reports, and first-person accounts regarding the varieties of lesbian and gay sexual experience across the life course. At the center of this powerful contribution to developmental science and human understanding are stories that will pull at your heart and enliven your mind stories of desire and joy, commitment and fulfillment, but also terror and risk, as they portray how human agency comes to terms with the inscrutable forces that run through each of us, and through our social worlds, to shape our lives as sexual beings." -- Dan P. McAdams, author of The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By and George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream "The volume offers several chapters that examine how context informs the ways in which gays and lesbians have and are creating, shaping, and reshaping the stories of their sexual identities, illuminating the meaning behind them in an eloquent and in many instances emotionally intimate wayEL.The works contained within this volume have potential to stimulate new insights and research about the sexual identity development of gays and lesbians for years to come-a mark of any good work." -- Journal of Marriage and Familyshow more

Table of contents

PART 1. Time, Place, Story: Introductory Perspectives on Narrative and the Life Course ; 1. Narrative Engagement and Sexual Identity: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Sexual Lives. Phillip L. Hammack & Bertram J. Cohler ; 2. History, Narrative, and Sexual Identity: Gay Liberation and Post-War Movements for Sexual Freedom in the United States. Benjamin Shepard ; Culture, Identity, Narrative: Context and Multiplicity in Sexual Lives ; 3. Stories from the Second World: Narratives of Sexual Identity in the Czech Republic across Three Generations of Men who have Sex with Men. Timothy McCajor Hall ; 4. Unity and Purpose at the Intersections of Racial/ethnic and Sexual Identities. Ilan H. Meyer & Suzanne C. Ouellette ; 5. Bisexuality in a House of Mirrors: Multiple Reflections, Multiple Identities. Paula C. Rodriguez Rust ; 6. Narrative Identity Construction of Black Youth for Social Change. Mollie V. Blackburn ; PART 3. Identities in Process: Stories of Risk and Relationships ; 7. Between Kansas and Oz: Drugs, Sex, and the Search for Gay Identity in the Fast Lane. Steven P. Kurtz ; 8. (My) Stories of Lesbian Friendship. Jacqueline S. Weinstock ; 9. Emergence of a Poz Sexual Culture: Accounting for "Barebacking" among Gay Men. Barry D. Adam ; 10. Connectedness, Communication, and Reciprocity in Lesbian Relationships: Implications for Women's Construction and Experience of PMS. Janette Perz & Jane M. Ussher ; 11. Postcards from the Edge: Narratives of Sex and Relationship Breakdown among Gay Men. Damien Ridge & Rebecca Wright ; Making Gay and Lesbian Identities: Development, Generativity, and the Life Course ; 12. In the Beginning: American Boyhood and the Life Stories of Gay Men. Bertram J. Cohler ; 13. The Role of the Internet in the Sexual Identity Development of Gay and Bisexual Male Adolescents. Gary W. Harper, Douglas Bruce, Pedro Serrano, & Omar B. Jamil ; 14. Focus on the Family: The Psychosocial Context of Gay Men Choosing Fatherhood. David deBoer ; 15. Midlife Lesbian Lifeworlds: Narrative Theory and Sexual Identity. Mary Read ; 16. The Good (Gay) Life: The Search for Signs of Maturity in the Narratives of Gay Adults. Laura A. King, Chad M. Burton, & Aaron C. Geise ; 17. Generativity and Time in Gay Men's Life Stories. Andrew J. Hostetler ; 18. From Same-Sex Desire to Homosexual Identity: History, Biography, and the Production of the Sexual Self in Lesbian and Gay Elders' Narratives. Dana Rosenfeld ; Concluding Perspective ; 19. Lives,Times, and Narrative Engagement. Bertram J. Cohler & Phillip L. Hammackshow more

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