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Moss, D. (1997). Disorienting Sexuality: A Commentary. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 2(2):185-190.

(1997). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 2(2):185-190

Disorienting Sexuality: A Commentary Related Papers

Donald Moss, M.D.

This collection of essays focuses on sexual politics: the power dynamics through which sexuality has been, is, and might be ordered; and the place of psychoanalysis within those dynamics.

The collection is the product of an emerging populist impulse within the profession. Like any populist impulse, this one is fueled by a potent mixture of remembered oppression and envisioned freedom. The essays, mostly written in first person voice, and all in what might be called a first person mood, partake of the dignity and indignation common to populism, in collectively asserting that this oppression can no longer be tolerated and that the pursuit of freedom can no longer be delayed.

For the authors here, whose focus is sexual oppression, the paradigmatic oppressive icon is normative heterosexuality. Called into question by this collection is the entire matrix of sentiment and idea—the ongoing flux of popular assumption and arcane theory—by which the sexual field has been organized around that icon.

There is nothing disinterested about this collective inquiry. In fact, epistemological disinterest in this context would likely seem methodologically complicit with existing oppressive norms. The general understanding informing the collection is that, from Freud on, the profession's proximity to entrenched power has led to an attenuation of the theory's liberatory conceptual and clinical potential. The galvanizing focus is on the egregious use of the institution and the theory of psychoanalysis in the pathologization, inarginalization, and disempowerment of gay and lesbian people.

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