Same Sex, Different Cultures / Edition 1

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Overview


Because homoerotic relations can be found in so many cultures, Gilbert Herdt argues that we should think of these relations as part of the human condition. This new cross-cultural study of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals around the world, Same Sex, Different Cultures provides a unique perspective on maturing and living within societies, both historical and contemporary, that not only acknowledge but also incorporate same-gender desires and relations.Examining what it means to organize “sex” in a society that lacks a category for “sex,” or to love someone of the same gender when society does not have a “homosexual” or “gay/lesbian” role, Herdt provides provocative new insights in our understanding of gay and lesbians lives. Accurate in both its scientific conceptions and wealth of cultural and historical material, examples range from the ancient Greeks and feudal China and Japan to the developing countries of Africa, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Thailand, from a New Guinea society to contemporary U.S. culture, including Native Americans. For all of these peoples, homoerotic relations emerge as part of culture—and not separate from history or society.In many of these groups, loving or engaging in sexual relations is found to be the very basis of the local cultural theory of “human nature” and the mythological basis for the cosmos and the creation of society. The mistake of modern Western culture, Gilbert contends, is to continue the legalization of prejudice against lesbians and gays.In this light, the book addresses the issue of “universal” versus particular practices and reveals positive role models that embrace all aspects of human sexuality. Finally, it offers knowledge of the existence of persons who have loved and have been intimate sexually and romantically with the same gender in other lands through divergent cultural practices and social roles.The most important lesson to learn from this cross-cultural and historical study of homosexuality is that there is room for many at the table of humankind.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This ambitious volume tries but misses. Seeking to give a worldwide overview of his topic, Herdt (Children of Horizons, LJ 7/93) succeeds only in providing a cursory introduction to the gay and lesbian culture in the United States. No new information is provided, just a rehashing of much of what was published a decade ago. Herdt gives "developing countries" short shrift and covers well-documented cultures like Greece and some in Asia a mere four pages each, though he is to be commended for including age- and role-structured homoerotic relations in the few areas of the world he decides to cover. Lesbians will be especially disappointed. Serious readers would do better with more substantive works like Bret Hinsch's Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual in China (LJ 9/1/91). Public libraries will want, but research collections may want to pass on this one.Kevin M. Roddy, Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813331645
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Gilbert Herdt is professor of human sexuality, professor of anthropology, and director of Human Sexuality Studies Programs at San Francisco State University. He is the author of numerous articles and fifteen books, including Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity and Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea, and coauthor of Children of Horizons: How Gay and Lesbian Youth Are Forging a New Way Out of the Closet.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures 1
2 Cultural Myths About Homosexuality 25
3 Same-Gender Relations in Nonwestern Cultures 63
4 Coming of Age and Coming Out Ceremonies Across Cultures 109
5 Sexual Lifeways and Homosexuality in Developing Countries 135
6 Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals in Contemporary Society 153
7 Conclusion: Culture and Empowerment of Sexual Minorities 175
Glossary 183
References 185
About the Book and Author 195
Index 197
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