Policing the Perisexual: Male-Male Sexuality in Edo-Period Legal Discourse

Gregory M. Pflugfelder

in Cartographies of Desire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780520209091
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940871 | DOI:
Policing the Perisexual: Male-Male Sexuality in Edo-Period Legal Discourse

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This chapter explores the realm of legal discourse — the framework of pronouncements and silences by means of which political authorities of the Edo-period sought to establish and maintain control over the significance of male-male sexuality. Through the codification and enforcement of various types of legislation, the era's warriors-turned-bureaucrats attempted to limit shudō within parameters that would serve their own interests and secure the functioning of the communities in their charge. In contrast to the profit motive of the publishing industry, the concerns of legislators were centered on hierarchy and stability. As with popular discourse, the legal construction of male-male sexuality was by no means uniform, varying significantly with geographic locale and chronological era, as the subsequent discussion should sufficiently illustrate.

Keywords: legal discourse; male-male sexuality; legislation; Edo-period

Chapter.  22024 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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