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Prager, J. (1996). Theory, Culture, and Society. X, 1993. Pp. 103-126. Gender, Desire and Child Sexual Abuse: Accounting for the Male Majority. A. M. Liddle.. Psychoanal Q., 65:668.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:668

Theory, Culture, and Society. X, 1993. Pp. 103-126. Gender, Desire and Child Sexual Abuse: Accounting for the Male Majority. A. M. Liddle.

Review by:
Jeffrey Prager

The empirical literature on child sexual abuse has identified that men are far more likely to be perpetrators than women. However, there has been no attempt in the literature to theorize the relationship between child sexual abuse, gender, and the social construction of masculine desire. The social character of sexual abuse is developed through reference to feminist theories of masculine sexuality, Foucault's theories of sexuality and power, and Connell's work on the social organization of sexual desire. These theoretical tools are deployed to understand the masculinization of bodies within historically contingent hegemonic gender regimes. The author, however, argues against social theories of masculinity which close off the possibilities for male agency, mediation, and resistance to dominant social constructions. It is asserted that the male majority in the perpetration of child sexual abuse can be accounted for by structures of gender power which equate male adequacy with the expression of sexual desire as performance and achievement. By way of conclusion, the author calls for further investigation and theorization through a “practice-based sociology of masculinity” which would link child sexual abuse to the formation of “personality, desire and the social construction of gender.”

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