The Cultural Sociology of the Erotic Sphere

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30-19:20
RC16 Sociological Theory (host committee)

Language: English

In the last two decades, cultural sociology has made powerful contribution in analyzing the role played by symbols, codes, narratives and icons in constituting, defining and regulating a wide range of social spheres. It has seldom dealt, however, with the sphere of intimate, erotic life. The demons, ghosts and promises of what Max Weber claimed was a key sphere of modern society is still largely unexplored from a cultural sociology point of view. It is easy to highlight, however, how erotic experiences is far from being an automatic consequence of pre-given drives. It is deeply intertwined with powerful discourses, sustained by ingrained traditions of representation and interpretation. Contemporary society is characterized by the massive, specialized, sophisticated production of cultural objects belonging to a fully differentiated erotic genre. It contains texts, sounds, visual and tactile symbols oriented to stimulate both erotic imagination and bodily reactions in a variety of ways. Sociological research has studied the erotic genre nearly exclusively from the outside, restricting its focus on the production, distribution and consumption of erotic cultural objects. Its contents and semiotic structures have been largely ignored. The session will explore how cultural sociology may contribute to a better understanding of the narrative structures and narratives of  the erotic genre in its relation with the contemporary erotic sphere.
Session Organizers:
Giuseppe SCIORTINO, University of Trento, Italy and Martina CVAJNER, University of Trento, Italy
Oral Presentations
The Moral Economy of Sexual Exchange in an Anti-Monetary Market
Skyler WANG, University of California, Berkeley, USA
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