Category: Books, Articles & Research

On Sondheim: An Opinionated Guide – A review

  On Sondheim: An Opinionated Guide By Ethan Mordden Oxford University Press, New York; xiii, 186 (pp216) ISBN 978-0199394814 Published January 21st 2016 Stephen Sondheim has been the mover and shaker of the modern musical for the past half-century. Widely honoured and celebrated, his work flags how the musical has evolved and become celebrated as…

The Making of the Modern Homosexual Revisited

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‘The Making of the Modern Homosexual’ Revisited

 A discussion between Ken Plummer, Jeffrey Weeks and other contributors chaired by Gregg Blachford; with an update with Róisín Ryan-Flood was held in the Sociology Department at the University of Essex on Thursday March 19th 2015. The Making of the Modern Homosexual was published in June 1981 in hardback and paperback. The book was inspired by Mary McIntosh’s article ‘The Homosexual Role” Social Problems Vol. 16, No 2, Fall 1968 which was republished in the book and followed by a discussion. The book was developed in an early workshop, linked to an Open University Second Level Intro to Sociology Course (Study Section 8), and held at Essex in 1979. (The O.U. programme ran for over a decade, throughout the 1980’s.)

The Book ‘Blurb’

‘Is the “homosexual” a type of person that has been with us in various guises throughout history? Is he or she simply a “being” that we are slowly discovering and understanding better? Or is the “homosexual” simply an invention of our century? The authors of this original and important new work take this last view and argue that although “same-sex” sexual experiences may have existed throughout history, the notion of the “homosexual” is a peculiarly modern idea, which has profound consequences in the structuring of recent homosexual experiences. The essays in this book take the contemporary construction of the homosexual as their common concern’.

The Book Contents

Part One: The Making of a Sociology of Homosexuality

  1. Building a Sociology of Homosexuality (Ken Plummer)
  2. ‘The Homosexual Role’ (Mary McIntosh); with interview (McIntosh, Weeks, Plummer)

Part Two: Directions for Enquiry

  1. Homosexual Categories (Ken Plummer)
  2. Discourse, Desire And Sexual Deviance: Some Problems In The History Of Historiography (Jeffrey Weeks)
  3. Liberating Lesbian Research (Annabel Faraday)

Part Three: The Making Of The `Modern Male Homosexual: Explorations In Research

  1. Pansies, Perverts And Macho Men: Changing Conceptions Of Male Homosexuality (John Marshall)
  2. Gender Confusions: Psychological And Psychiatric Conceptions Of Transvestism And Transexualism (Dave King)
  3. Male Dominance And The Gay World (Gregg Blachford)

Appendices on Research

Some images from those early days -1980

A day meeting to discuss the book and organised by the Open University who used many images for their programme broadcast throughout the 1980’s. The photos show Jeffrey Weeks, Ken Plummer, Gregg Blachford, John Marshall, Mary McIntosh and Annabel Faraday.

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Farewell Sexualities!

This issue marks the completion of the editorial changeover for the journal, a process that commenced in Autumn 2012. A list of the full new editorial team can be found listed on the inside cover. In this latest issue,  the departing editor and the incoming editors make some remarks. You can find the full link…

Obituary Mary McIntosh (1936-2013) by Jeffrey Weeks

The latest issue of the Journal Sexualities ( September 2013) has just been published. For those interested, I reprint  here an obituary for Mary McIntosh by Jeffrey  Weeks so it can be more widely accessible. ‘Obituary: Mary McIntosh 1936-2013’   Weeks, Jeffrey (2013)  Sexualities    16(5/6) 743-746 I first met Mary McIntosh, who has died…

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A MANIFESTO FOR A CRITICAL HUMANISM

IN 

SOCIOLOGY

ON QUESTIONING THE HUMAN SOCIAL WORLD

 Ken Plummer

(Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, U.K.)

 This was First Presented at the VI Congreso Andaluz de Sociologiá, University of Cadiz, November 2012

In June it was  published in

Daniel Nehring: Sociology: A Text and Reader ( Pearson, 2013).


This is the first edition; it is now under revision for a 2nd version. Comments are welcome

Contact Ken Plummer at plumk@essex.ac.uk

 

_________________________________________________ 

Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon World-Affairs,

            Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit

            A social science

– W.H. Auden  ‘Under Which Lyre’. 1946

 

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, 1869

These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. William James:  The Will to Believe. 1896

 

SUMMARY

  1. Prologue: A very human animal in an all too human world
  2. On the Human Search for Meaning
  3. On Sociology
  4. The Challenge of Humanism
  5. Righting the Troubles with Humanism
  6. On Critical Humanism
  7. The Human Condition: Obdurate Features of the Human World
  8. On Human Potentials, Capabilities and Rights
  9. The Challenge of Plural Worlds, Ethnocentrism and Cosmopolitanism
  10. On Becoming Human: The Process of Humanization
  11. A Sociology of the People:  Being Practical and Pursuing the Wise Society
  12. We are the Story Telling Animals
  13. The Politics and ethics of Humanism: Living a Better Life and Making a Better World
  14. Dark Hope and Dreaming Ahead in Perpetually Troubled Timers: Key Directions For a Future Humanistic Agenda
  15. Further Reading

 Click here for the rest

A MANIFESTO FOR SOCIAL STORIES PUBLISHED

In 2011 Liz Stanley organised a conference to discuss developments in life story work since the publication  of  Documents of Life. This was a book I first published in 1983 when I was busy  using personal documents in research; and was re-written in 2001 as Documents of Life-2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism. The…

Symbolic Interactionism and Sexual Conduct: A very early article

One of my earliest papers and for a while, in my  far away youth, my favourite personal paper was Symbolic Interactionism and Sexual Conduct: An emergent perspective.  It was my first clear statement of a position – even though it took some ten years to be published and even then in a much edited form…

Some Recent Presentations

Handouts for recent presentations       Today I have posted some summary handouts of recent lectures that I have given.   The first was given  at a lecture for Spanish sociologists.  I launched the manifesto for Critical Humanism at that time; and this was the handout I gave them as I lectured to powerpoints.…

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