Theorizing the Sexual Child in Modernity by R. Danielle Egan, Gail Hawkes

By R. Danielle Egan, Gail Hawkes

This ground-breaking paintings offers the 1st heritage of rules concerning the sexual baby in modernity. starting with twenty-first century panics approximately sexualization, the authors tackle why the sexual baby excites such strong feelings within the Anglophone west.  Historical research of the prior centuries deals a few tough and insightful solutions. Drawing on quite a lot of diverse fabrics from enlightenment philosophy, drugs, social purity sexual hygiene, psychoanalysis and baby improvement, this ebook illustrates that present panics have a constant and engaging heritage. Egan and Hawkes attempt to growth past the present deadlock of worry and nervousness.

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Extra resources for Theorizing the Sexual Child in Modernity

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No child, however young, was, in principle, excepted from this fate. 2 Suck a Thumb. In 1845 the focus on social behavior was illustrated in a child’s book, Struwwelpeter, that comprised gruesomely illustrated accounts of the terrible consequences of childish disobedience to adult authority. Each cautionary tale was correlated with a misuse of the body—cleanliness, personal hygiene, gluttony, and an early recognition of what in 1879 was to be identified by the German pediatrician Lindner as “pleasure sucking” (Gillis, 1996, 57).

Reviewed as an important addition to professional literature, this text offered examples of and prescribed treatment for a range of physical and mental consequences of excessive coitus and masturbation (Bell 1839, 146). Cases included both children and adults and treatments ranged from the topical (application of iced water) to the more extreme surgical interventions. As Deslandes recounted, Mademoiselle C***, ten years old and of strong constitution and good muscular development had been addicted to onanism since she was two years old.

In this somatic focus of disease and treatment, diseases of the mind were derivative from, rather than the causal link with, compulsive uses of the body. The high profile of masturbation in medical writing was also a vector in the growing tensions between the “quack” practitioners and trained physicians as medical knowledge and power began to coalesce (Porter 1995, 45–59). 16 Prior to this, for example, German physician Christian Struve17 (1802) preserved the eighteenth-century argument that “nature is the safest guide of man: her voice is paramount and prior to any document” (377).

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