Nagel, Joane. 2000. “Ethnicity and Sexuality.”

Nagel, Joane. 2000. “Ethnicity and Sexuality.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol.26, pp.197-133.

Constructing Ethnicity

  • While many studies only focus on race, nationalism, or ethnicity, the three concepts are very relatable.
  • Nationalism is often viewed as a kind of ethnically social identity or mobilization usually involving claims to statehood or political autonomy.
  • Race and ethnicity get distinguished by power and choice:
    • Race is more likely to be an assigned attribute
    • Ethnicity is more likely to be volitional
    • Ethnicity is dramaturgical, situational, changeable and emergent
    • Power is important in creating and regulation both racial and ethnic boundaries
    • In any society, we can see the boundaries dividing the population along ethnic lines
      • Observe differences is language, religion, skin color or appearance, cultural practices/beliefs, or national origins

Ethnosexual Frontiers

  • Ethnic boundaries are also sexual boundaries
    • Erotic intersections where people make intimate connections across ethnic, racial, or national borders
    • The issue of multiple sexualities in ethnosexual contact brings the contradictory tensions in the relationship between ethnicity and sexuality.
    • Because common importance of proper gender role & sexual behavior to ethnic community honor and respectability, a great deal of attention is paid to the sexual; demeanor of group members in inspection and enforcement of both formal and informal rules of sexual conduct

Constructing Sexuality/Sexualities

  • Skin color, language, religion, or ancestry do not automatically serve as the basis for ethnic identities or groups, result in variations in culture content or generate interethnic conflict.
  • Gender identities, meanings, cultures, and social divisions between men and women are social constructions, arising out of historical conditions, power relations, and ongoing social processes
    • These same insights about the social construction of ethnicity and gender apply to sexuality
    • Male and female genitalia do not automatically result in predictable types of sexual men and women
    • Women bring men into being by their “otherness” and that women’s abject (marginal, invisible) status affirms men’s dominance and normalcy
    • The view of women as “not men” leads to a focus on women’s lack of rights, reinforcement, and even a constitution of hegemonic manhood-men’s dominance, men’s privilege, men’s centrality
    • Despite widespread rule breaking, monogamy persists as an almost sacred norm both in law and in public opinion
    • There is certainly historical change in sexual norms and actions, on can find similar discrepancies between ideology and behavior in other forms of contemporary US heteroconventionality
      • Appropriate age and general acceptability of premarital sex, number of acceptable serial or simultaneous sexual partners, types of sexual behavior, locations for sexual activity, nudity, and public attire

Sexualities and Nationalisms

  • The issue of sexualities continues to complicate enactments and definitions of the nation-its boundaries and components
  • The punishment of women for sexual contact with an enemy and suspicions about the patriotism of homosexuals reflect a particularly sexualized, indeed, heteorsexualized, envisioning of masculinity and femininity and of men’s and women’s proper places in the gender, sexual, and national order

Indian-Whitesexual Frontiers

  • Many negative reports about native life and sexuality were popularized in the form of Indian captivity narratives in which whites were the targets of native sexual aggression

Black-White Ethnosexual Boundaries

  • No ethnic boundary is more sexualized, surveilled, and scrutinized in US society than the color line dividing blacks and whites
  • In the 20th century black sexuality remained a preoccupation of white men and women for sexual misdeeds
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