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Stephen O. Murray: Homosexualities

Stephen O. Murray: Homosexualities

USA/UK 2002, 507 pp., brochure,  66.95
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Breathtaking in its historical and geographical scope, Murray’s new book provides a sweeping examination of the construction of male and female homosexualities. Murray argues that at least some individuals who lived before the word »homosexuality« was coined were aware of same-sex desires. Although the range of behaviors, subcategories, and meanings of same-sex sex he surveys is considerable, there are a few recurring types. Exploring the range of constructions around the world and across history, Murray relates the patterns to other sociocultural institutions. Documenting premodern instances of female and male homosexuality that do not involve status differences, Murray shows that egalitarian homosexuality was not impossible before industrial capitalism. He also stresses that humans are more than mere »cultural carriers«. Even though the roles and conceptions of a society channel desire into familiar patterns, there is considerable variability in what individuals do within these channels. After decades of arguments for asocial constructionism, »Homosexualities« is the most comprehensive description and analysis of the range of social constructions of same-sex sexuality. Furthermore, it will prove Foucault’s followers wrong in suggesting no real analogue between modern and premodern homosexuals.
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