“We find that each generation has a different history, that it is a part of the apparatus of each generation to reconstruct its history. A different Caesar crosses the Rubicon not only with each author but with each generation. That is, as we look back over the past, it is a different past. The experience is something like that of a person climbing a mountain. As he looks back over the terrain he has covered, it presents a continually different picture. So the past is continually changing as we look at it from the point of view of different authors, different generations. It is not simply the future [and present] which is novel, then; the past is also novel” (George Herbert Mead: Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century 116-117).
In this session, I will consider the relevance of time and generation to the study of sexualities and introduce a number of concepts to help us develop our ideas & research. I will have a dual focus: the changing (generational) nature of academic research on sexualities and the changing (generational) nature of sexual experience itself. My theoretical position is that of a queer symbolic interactionist who has become a critical humanist. If you are interested you can look in advance at: “Generational Sexualities, Subterranean Traditions, and the Hauntings of the Sexual World: Some Preliminary Remarks”. Symbolic Interaction. Vol. 33 nº2 (2010), p.163-191.
Ken Plummer is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex and the founder editor of the journal Sexualities. He has written widely on gay life, narrative, rights, sexualities and critical humanism. His many works include Sexual Stigma (1975), The Making of the Modern Homosexual (edited in 1981), Telling Sexual Stories (1995), Documents of Life (2001) and Intimate Citizenship (2003). His most recent book is Sociology: The Basics (2010).