Intimitetens villkor : kön, sexualitet och berättelser om jaget
Sammanfattning: This dissertation deals with the drawing of boundaries between normal and abnormal, between natural and unnatural. The aim is to show how the conditions for intimacy and hence also intimacy between women have changed in modern society, how sex and sexuality have been perceived, organized, and experienced in relation to historical and cultural circumstances. The study proceeds from two collections of material. The first concerns how intimacy between women in prison, known as “prison friendship”, is described in different records 1870-1930. The second concerns how intimacy between women, now named “homosexuality”, was presented in letters to and from the advice bureau of the RFSU (Swedish Association for Sex Education) 1930-1960. The prison material and the counselling material differ in a number of ways. The point of departure is that cultural conceptions, norms, and power must be treated as interwoven. By focusing on the conditions for intimacy between women, on how ideas about sex are rooted and transmitted, disparate kinds of material can reveal how norms are formulated and reformulated. In this respect, the discussion of prison friendship proceeds from prison as a societal tool for communicating norms, whereas the RFSU’s treatment of female homosexuality is considered against the background of how norms for a “new” sexual morality were formulated in the critique of the prevailing order. The study is significantly influenced by perspectives that come under the designation of Queer Theory, which is characterized by a problematization of conceptions of sex, desire, identity, sexuality, and the subject. In the dissertation attempts to transfer and name different forms of intimacy on the basis of a present-day understanding of lesbian identity is questioned. Instead of finding out who the individual really was, the interest is directed at how what we call desire and sexual acts have been interpreted in different periods – on the conditions for intimacy. Queer perspectives are ultimately concerned with questions about the defined normality - heterosexuality. This problematization of the normative order is also found in the study. Intimacy between women is studied as dependent on how normality is defined, on how the conditions for intimacy have been formulated. In this sense the study should be seen as a basis for a general discussion of how the order prevailing for sex and sexuality is formulated and reformulated. Throughout the period under study, intimacy between women was mainly viewed as a characteristic sign of woman, whether it was formulated in terms of her wantonness, emotionality, or her envy of men. The understanding of sex was simultaneously changed during the period, from outer factors that can be perceived on the body to inner factors concealed in the mind. The change from the outer to the inner must be connected to the emphasis on the function of the sex drive as a source of desire rather than the reproductive function. When pleasure was highlighted, men and women were distinguished on the basis of their different sexuality, while they were simultaneously (re)united in a necessary and inevitable heterosexual desire.
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