Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 25: The Sociology of Sexuality
JOHN DELAMATER & MICHELLE HASDAY
The sociology of sexuality Many disciplines contribute to an understanding of human sexuality. While disciplines in the humanities address the range of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings associated with human sexuality, it is the sciences that seek to create and evaluate overarching explanatory theories. Assessing the development of sexual theory, Irvine (2003) claims that sociology “has an impressive history of denaturalizing sex and theorizing its social origins in a body of scholarship dating from the early twentieth-century Chicago School” (p. 430), which viewed noninstitutional forms of sexual expression as the result of a breakdown in informal controls such as family and neighborhood. Anthropologist Gayle Rubin notes that “the work of establishing a social science approach to sex…and challenging the privileged role of psychiatry in the study of human sexuality was mostly accomplished by sociologists” (as cited in Irvine 2003:430). Based on the fundamental assumption that human behavior is socially learned, sociological ...