Growing Up Sexually

The Sexual Curriculum (Oct., 2002)

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Janssen, D. F. (Oct., 2002). Growing Up Sexually. Volume II: The Sexual Curriculum: The Manufacture and Performance of Pre-Adult Sexualities.

Interim Report. Amsterdam, The Netherlands




Chapter Abstracts

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1 The Sociology of Life Span Sexualities: "Anthropological" Traditions and Entries


This chapter identifies sociological traditions in approaching human sexual "development", resulting in a choice of perspective informing the present literature review. These traditions were tested for their utility in surveying and interpreting ethnographic accounts of sexual socialisation processes. To further map the orientations of academic interests in "developmental sexuality" research, a range of agenda in approaching sexual socialisation was tested for the use of ethnographia. To complement this exploration, some preliminary notes are offered on "lateral" constructions and biases in approaching socialised (or sociologised) phase-identified sexual behaviour. The definitive format chosen included constructionist elements informing a "performed sexuality" or "modified" scripting perspective. [go there now]



2 Sexologising Childhood: Historical Antecedents of "Developmental Sexology"


This chapter identifies selected historical antecedents of contemporary sexological conceptualisations of the child, with a reference to ethnographic import. First, it is argued that "developmental sexologies" or ontologies are cultural constructs that describe and legitimise given curricular operationalisation efforts. It is suggested that the theme of age salience in early sexology is neglected by historians. Specifically, masturbation evolved from a poorly curricularised pathological discourse (until 1850s) to one that seemed to be based solely on phase ideologies (1905 to late 1960s). A breakthrough in developmental sexology was established by Von Krafft-Ebing's considering all prepubertal sexual phenomena as "paradoxic" to nature, a pathology not fully eradicated until the 1930s. Slowly, pathology gave way to a stress on early sexuality as "play" and "experimentation", as illustrated by the ethnographic notes of Tessmann. This seemed to have been arrived at by the transitional recognition of "love" development. It was argued that the influx of non-western data, single authors excepted, was markedly delayed past key theoretical efforts (Freud); the systematic, and later numeric, cross-cultural approach is still in its infancy, a surprising fact regarding the wide interest in cross-cultural sexology today. Highlights are briefly summarised. [go there now]



3 Cultural Developmental Sexologies: A Sociological Entry to Ethnohistorical Data


This chapter provides a theoretical outline of a framework for describing cross-cultural patterns of sexual behaviour socialisation. This framework describes the process of sexual behaviour and identity socialisation in terms of operationalisation rather than permissiveness. This process identifies cultural tasks defining individual curricular sexual identities, and curricular subcultural countertasks by which children and youth respond to, assimilate, renegotiate these claims. That is, a specific (sexual) socialisation curriculum creates a specific (sexual) subculture, as can be described and studied via its being grounded in self-devised forms and self-imposed tasks. On this basis, the current literature review was identified as aiming to facilitate a demonstration of social definitions operationalising any part and level of the process of socialisation: acts, actors, bodies (and their biological evolutions), and body parts (and their biological functions). From an interactionist perspective, the concept of "negative" or antagonist socialisation is theoretically problematic, since, it was argued, antagonist pedagogism always originates in a curricularised positive discourse.

Theoretical disciplines governing sexological principles for different cultures were explored along two dimensions. It was observed that pedagogical cultures, as a whole, may uniformise and institutionalise paradigmatic entries to developing sex, or rationalise practices in a less organised, more individualised fashion. [go there now]



4 Language, Culture and Developmental Sexology: A Constructionist Identification


This chapter explores constructionist perspectives on the developmental representation of sexuality in verbal exchanges. A specifically human trait, language, more than behaviour, is identified as a structuring agent capable of organising and shaping curricular hierarchies within gendered subcultures. This was demonstrated for two male curricular verbal cultures incorporating sexologist narratives: the Afro-American ritual of "sounding", "homophobic" slander, , and the curricular "sexist" discourse. Ethnographic material expands on this model in suggesting that restrictions and proscriptions on rapport and exchange shape the totality of sexual/erotic timescapes, curriularising and compartimentalising both "exterior", social spaces (gender, age and kinship dimensions) and "inner"-spaces (bodies). Language, in short, (1) curricularises sexual / body trajectories, (2) segmentalises sexological societies on the basis of several social gradients, and (3) organises discursive and situated sexualities. Poststructural perspectives on sexual/erotic identity are to identify individuals localising themselves within the order of communicated hypothetical sex rather than solely within the biographical realm of lived-experiences. It was emphasised that narratives, albeit locating sexuality, are further used to shape sexuality on discursive and situational levels. This was tentatively potentialised by addressing how sexualities are autobiographically reconstructed, or fitted within a pedagogical discourse. [go there now]



5 Puberty: Manufacturing, Operationalising and Regulating Chronology and Discontinuity


This chapter explores cultural operationalisations of puberty, particularly within a sexological context. It was hypothesised that two major identifiers of sexual cultures (chronology and discontinuity) are related to social structure as regarding its curricular organisation of reproductive affiliations. This was approached via three interrelated levels: the manufacturing, operationalisation, and regulation of puberty. It was further demonstrated how discontinuity was effected through nosological and magical operationalisation. On the basis of SCCS data, a rough preliminary baseline was created for cultural sexologies of puberty. [go there now]



6 Coitality, Koitomimesis and Coitarche: Construing Chronology, Status, Scenario, Residence, and Dyadicism


Taking a contemporary scripting approach (cf. section to human coitus development as a starting point for facilitating a demonstration of cross-cultural variations in prepubertal sexual behaviour, it is explored how the form and formality of such behaviour will closely reflect social contexts used by children to actively shape legitimising scenarios. At this point, this modification is utilised in describing children as "using" legitimising scripts (e.g., marriage) to facilitate the fulfilment of thus hidden scripts (genital behaviour). In this sense, children may modify existing scenarios to fit specific agendas, and within such ad hoc scenarios recruit (operationalise) potential partners. Coital patterning scripts (curricular scripts) are closely related to other patterning scripts, such as those addressing intimacy and pairbonding. Thus, form and timing of coitarche proper and coital patterning proper are shaped according to curricularising tendencies that, cross-culturally, are variably operationalised and organised. Genitality in nonprototypical (self-invented scenarios, nondyadicism) or protovariant (non-quasi "marital") contexts were interpreted as allowing the situational generating and modification of scripts, as opposed to the adoption of complete stereotypical ones. [go there now]



7 Sex Training: The Neglected Fourth Dimension in Erotagogical Ideologies


The concept of sexual training, as it is virtually unknown in Western erotic discourse, is discussed. Observations are reviewed on various instances of explicit and direct transmission of sexual techniques: coitus demonstrations, institutional intructrices, semi-formal age-stratified coital introductions, less flagrant age-dismatched patterns, age-nonsegregated dormitory systems, active shaping of heterosexual identity/role, and enforced coitarche. Compromising previous ramifications, these processes advocate a bidirectional classification of sex education discourses, allowing for positive operationalisations. [go there now]



8 Preadult Sexualities: Ethnohistorical Materials for a Discourse Analysis


This chapter explores discourses associated with what are identified as "typical" or "non-typical" sexual developmental pathways. It is suggested that the occurrence of these pathways is a function of curricular opportunities and restrictions, and, tentatively, that cultural tolerance levels tend to take these mechanisms into consideration in their attitudes. That is, tolerance for (curricular) atypical patterns is a trade-off for abstinent parenthood. Pedagogue's positioning follows discourses which for the purpose of this article could be trichotomised as legitimising tolerant, restrictive and stimulative attitudes. A mechanism is suggested that, on individual and subcultural curricular levels alike, operationalisations of (e.g., partner-identified) sexual behaviour categories represent an economy of possibilities and probabilities, that loses hierarchical definition if and when cultural environments take nonoperationaling positions. While cultural patterns may be typified by an identical set of possibilities and probabilities, any "possible" or "probable" act may still be subject to a specific explanation: frustration, practice, indifference, hesitance, etc. This is suggested by a parallel presentation of historical and ethnological examples. [go there now]



9 A Lesser Known Parenting Ethologism: Baby's Genitals and the Grand Scheme of Things Sexual


This chapter explores cultural determinants of nonpreparatory nonhygienic nonmedical genital handling. It was observed that these interactions represent early operationalisations of heterosexual identity, and the intergenerational anticipation and certification of sexual values and functions. Its absence (from public discourse) in industrial societies is linked to the relative nonintervening attitude toward sexual and reproductive ontogenesis as associated with the absence of direct intergenerational interest with these issues. [go there now]



10 "Primal Knowledge": Physiology and Traumatology

This chapter explores the generational stratification of sexological technology. This is demonstrated for (parental) coitus as a narrative and as an image. Within the concept of performed sexualites, the prevention of knowledge acquisition thought to operationalise given, or any, sexual behaviour categories is identified as a fundamental principle. This information gradient establishes the age stratification it is thought to be necessitated by, in terms of motivational development. Apart from a poststructuralist approach (sex-knowledge is the currency of Western sexual discourses, and its transmission takes place within power domains) a number of alternative theoretical ramifications are briefly listed. [go there now]



11 Medicalisation and Curricularisation of Sexual Behaviour Trajectories



This chapter is concerned with demonstrating how cultures, contrary to Foucault's thesis, universally resort to biological and nosological legitimisations of moral choices connected to given sexual behaviour curricula. It is further argued that this tendency continues to be a definite hallmark of contemporary Western society, particularly in the issue of age stratification. [go there now]



12 Bodies, Functions and Culture I: Operationalising Organs, Transitions and Erotics


The first of a duet, this chapter explores sociological and cultural determinants in the socialisation directed to organs, providing social meanings and, closely related, grounds for culture-specific experiences of their development. It was argued that the sexual body is gradually and progressively "assimilated" through the curricular assignment of pragmatic identities. Tracking down the assimilated body, instances are encountered where this assignment is delayed, does not occur unambiguously, or does not adequately seem to be assimilated by intergenerational interventions. In any case, the body unfolds within the larger political discourses, that recruit, complement and identify its potential. In traditional societies, for instance, the female body is variably dealt with according its "meaning" within the political scene of bride transferral. A central issue is the dissociation between reproductive and otherwise productive operationalisations of bodies. The operationalisation is demonstrated to be closely related to affective responses to bodies and bodily changes. [go there now]



13 Bodies, Functions and Culture II: Instrumentalising and De-Instrumentalising the Coital Body


This chapter expands on the preceding chapter by demonstrating how (especially African) cultures actively promote or incapacitate the young body as an instrument for sexual use. The prosexual techniques include preparation of cunnus (beautification, elongation of labia pudenda), breasts (shaping, enlargement) vagina (introcision, artificial defloration), and extragential areas (scarification, siccatriciation, piercing, etc.); in males, techniques include phallopoesis and preputial preparation. The practices are self-directed or mutual, in other cases it is effected maternally, ceremonially or in less extreme informal age stratified situations. Morphological alterations demonstrate the degrees of instrumentalisation and authorisation of the coital body. Further, anatomical structures (e.g. foreskin) are appointed variable sexological operationalisations which reflect culture's tendency to intervene in and control developmental processes. [go there now]



14 Curricular Subjectification / Objectification of Erotic Personhood



This paper explores eroticisation processes in age-stratified settings. It is to suggested that the cultural erotological meaning attached to childhood and puberty is associated with curricular recruitment into adult sexual cultures. This defines whether the child is in any sense a participating agent (e.g., participating victim) in (hypothetical) contacts with the ruling age class, and if so, what role it is granted. The data suggest that cultures, opposing a universal taboo, may normalise age-stratified contacts by redefining a given basis of exchange or utilisation to pedagogical principles. In other cultures, where recruitment occupies a marginalised status because of the need for such recruitment being incidental rather than pervasive, such functions are interpreted as symptomatic of individual, stereotypical failures to accomplish (curricularised) social agendas, the result of which falls subject to pathologising. The conclusion reads that cultures (as do individuals) operationalise children as erotic "objects" when such may be facilitated or required by teleiosocial blockages or lateral interests; if not required, children are counter-operationalised as "victims" of such (individual) operationalisation. The result is an individualised (as opposed to a culturally or subculturally peer-shared) operationalisation conflict. More generally, complementation arguments are used variably to legitimise given social imperatives. If not, identification processes are embraced to legitimise social recognition of nascent erotic citizenship. This complementation / identification duality can be used to study cultural operationalisation principles.

A constructionist study of age stratified sexual affiliation is not available in most cases; for the contemporary American situation, ethical implications compromise the methodological soundness of future study. [go there now]





15 Rolling Down a Hill Together in Each Other's Arms: An Ethnohistorical Inventory of Play / Rehearsive Love and (Pre-) Institutonal Dyadic Affiliation


This chapter provides a rough sketch of love development trajectories as encountered cross-culturally and historically. As such it explores the extent of cultural diversity in such indefinite concepts as love and romanticism, thereby providing a vademecum for future study of its developmental principles. It establishes a chronological baseline of love as a subjective experience by reviewing relevant numeric data available for Western societies. It further overviews some of the cultural determinants that have been identified as to shape love trajectories. Lastly, some theoretical excursions are offered. [go there now]



16 Making and Arresting Sexual/Erotic People: A Cultural Issue: Erotogenetics, Object/Subject Debates, and (Non-) Erotic Citizenship



This chapter examines cultural ways of regarding, and effecting, so-called sexualisation / eroticisation processes. It was observed that Western discourses avoid a positive, or in any way interactionist, operationalisation of erotic development, and tend to concentrate on the identification of its misdirection in 'pathological' situations, as paralleled with a general "hurried erotics" discourse. Together with this clinical problem, the later 20th century has been characterised by a avoidance of defining the ontogenesis of erotic (rather than sexual or reproductive) personhood. It has been claimed that erotic objectivity and subjectivity are both produced and consumed within a culturally specific economy of complementation and identification requirements, as communicated by scripts and interactions, and within a complex double-axis (horizontal/vertical) plot. It is further suggested that the individual's (erotic) experience of "society" and "society"'s (erotic) experience of the individual provides for an interactionist discourse in negotiating meaning. This is demonstrated by the Islamic and Western "knowing eye". In fact, the "erotic" child is consumed and produced within very misty cultural implicits. Psychoanalytic, feminist and ethnographic impressions of the eroticisation process are provided with an emphasis on the concepts of objectification (complementation) and subjectification (identification). It was noted that structuralist-activist literature has conceptualised female erotic curricula as either manufactured or obliterated within a "sexist" discourse; the male analogy is much more unexplored. It was concluded that the divergence of these views sensitises any constructionist perspective. [go there now]



17 Selected Theoretical Proceedings


This chapter provides a cursory inventory of theoretical statements made in chapters 1 through 16. [go there now]







I Structural Determinants of Sexual Curricula: A Review and Critique of the "Cross-Cultural Method"



The following appendix presents an overview of systematic cross-cultural studies investigating the structural determination of the human sexual behaviour curriculum, together with rough description of their conclusions as organised by a selected number of entries to the problem. (For a more detailed and complete analysis, the reader is referred to a preliminary overview.) The first three entries explore the control of sexual behaviour from within the macrocultural, sexological and pedagogical frameworks. The last entry more descriptively covers the cross-cultural patterns of (gender-specific) curriculum. A short summary and focal critique of the cross-cultural method is followed by a challenging of its fundamental operationalisation ("permissiveness" / "restraint"). [go there now]



II Ethnographic Coverage of Early "Sexual" Behaviour Development and Socialisation: An Impression


This Appendix provides a rough outline of ethnographers' tendencies to cover sexual developmental issues. The extent of this coverage is specified using numeric indications as provided by cross-cultural studies; this is followed by a focal critique of this type of studies. Ethnographer's coverage in a qualitative sense is explored via a rough historical appraisal, and further by a discussion of selected problems in descriptive material encountered in the current study. [go there now]



III Playground Sexualities: The Performative-Interactionist Localisation of Schools


This Appendix provides a rough "ethnographic" outline of contemporary preadult sexualities within the U.S. school setting. An argument is made for the curricularising properties of schooling systems, determining the key issues of stratification, mobility, and sexual identity/orientation. Taking a performative-interactionist approach, feminist and gay activist agendas have in the past decade localised school environments as the central arenas in which sexualities "have their go" in the form of positioning and oppositioning, and through the agonism and antagonism of verbal, physical and ideological manoeuvring. [go there now]



IV Ontologist Sexologies: The Case for a Post-Developmentalist Course


This concept paper argues for a reappraisal of hegemonic ontologist (especially ethnocentric developmentalist) theories of sexual (gendered, erotic) trajectories. The paper further recommends a critical reinterpretation of structural elements through which the sexual-sexological is expressed, particularly in curricular perspective. [go there now]



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