"Sexual Citizenship" argues that analyses of the social construction of sexualities have tended to ignore the material contexts in which gender construction occurs. The main negative effect of this is that the sexual has been detached from mainstream power relations and interests. Building on Foucauldian and Interactionist perspectives, the author maintains that the progressive sexualization of modern capitalist societies is primarily shaped by the complex inter-related material interests of market and state.
The inherent individualism and amoralism of the consumerist market inevitably leads to the commodification of that which is most "personal," "private," "individual," and "natural." Capitalism encourages us to purchase our sexual identities and lifestyles and impels us to conclude that we are right to do so. In response, the state is not a passive actor. It neither simply resists nor retreats. Rather, it concedes relative and partial rights to "deviant" sexual minorities, investing them with particular, limited forms of gender/consumer power such as sexual citizenship. After a detailed discussion of the theatrical issues, the argument is developed through the specific instances of male homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia and children's sexuality.
The book is the first to approach sexuality from the perspective of citizenship. It raises fruitful and disturbing questions that are of interest to all academics, students, counsellors and practitioners (sexologists, social workers) with an interest and concern for sexuality in all its forms.
"There are good things in this book, certainly: some chic, an analysis of the demonizing of bisexuality almost Sedgwickian in its power, a brilliant and courageous analysis of the ambiguous and cruel positioning of the child as sexual agent, and a consistently high level of smart talk...It's a book rich in detail and tantalizingly wry and quick."
-Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, March 1994
"David Evans, a Scottish sociologist, has made an ambitious attempt in "Sexual Citizenship to demonstrate how the social construction of contemporary sexualities takes place within the crucible of advanced capitalism and modern state politics (especially Thatcherism)."
-"The Women's Review of Books, March 1994