Techno-sexual Landscapes

Cleminson, Richard; Gordo-Lopez, Angel.

IBSN: 9781853437786 Categories: ,


At first sight, to ask how sex has been influenced by technology over time may appear to be a perplexing question. There is no doubt about the current importance of the new technologies of reproduction, sex-change operations, and the passion that electronic chat-rooms incite. However, it might be argued, this is surely a recent phenomenon and the past has little to reveal about “techno-sexual” relations. Richard Cleminson and Angel Gordo-Lopez’s book draws on a number of examples of “productive” relations between technology and sexuality: the technical and sexual organisation of medieval monasteries, the moral and erotic transgression afforded by the early wind and water mill, and the romances forged in the context of the train. The authors focus on three main eras: the medieval period (around the 11th century with its monasteries as sites of technical innovation and heretical religious movements on the borders of Christianity); early modernity (from the time of the European “discoveries” and the creation of “others” including the natives of South America and the witch); and the present and the technologically-mediated future. What might be the connection between mills, navigation techniques and trains and the realm of sexuality? How does the government of sexuality and socio-economic relations in the 16th century across distances find resonance in cyberspace? Once the question of technology and sexuality has been placed in a long-term perspective, the reader is invited to reconsider relations often brushed aside, or devalued for their connection with “low”, popular or quotidian culture, practices and spaces. Acknowledging the uncomfortable social fact of “techno-sexuality” as a quotidian experience allows us to recuperate a range of often discounted or forgotten social actors, movements and landscapes.

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