Journal Article

The Historiography of Sexuality in Modern Germany

Edward R. Dickinson and Richard F. Wetzell

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 23, issue 3, pages 291-305
Published in print July 2005 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI:
The Historiography of Sexuality in Modern Germany

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In this introductory essay the editors suggest that the field of the history of sexuality in general and in modern Germany in particular has been organized around a complex of questions posed by the discourse theory of Foucault and other post-structuralists. The model proposed by these theorists and elaborated in the historical literature of the past twenty years has given us a coherent and widely influential narrative of the development of modern sexualities. This model, however, is now being called into question by historians who explore the social construction of sexualities in greater detail and argue that sexuality is constructed not by sexual experts (e.g., medical, criminological, psychiatric, and psychological experts) but within diverse and particular social milieux. The papers in this issue exemplify this trend, focusing their attention on the complexities of sexual discourse and revealing some of the ways in which constructions of sexuality were contested, contradictory, and shaped by the micropolitics of other social fields (such as politics, production, and the market). Taken together, they suggest that the history of sexuality is entering an exciting new creative phase.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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