Revista de Estudios Sociales
versão impressa ISSN 0123-885X
FRANKE, Katherine M. Putting Sex to Work. rev.estud.soc. [online]. 2007, n.28, pp. 16-42. ISSN 0123-885X.
This article analyzes how the social and legal classification of certain injuries as "sexual" or "sexbased" risks telling us too much and not enough about the kind of harm these injuries inflict. This classification both overdetermines the conduct and the injury as sexual and underdetermines other aspects of the conduct and the injury that get crowded out once the "sexual" label is applied - aspects such as racial, nationalistic or religious. Using three examples - the interpretations by some anthropologists of the seminal practices of the Sambia in New Guinea as a kind of "ritualized homosexuality," the attack against Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by New York City police officers, and the rapes and other assaults against men and women by soldiers in the former Yugoslavia - the article shows how the notion of "sexual practices" or "sexual crime" can hide gender, racial, and religious discrimination. With this in mind, it proposes a move from the discretionary legal use of the "sexual" towards a revision of violence from the perspective of international human rights law. We cannot, the article concludes, lose sight of "the uses of sex in the construction of men, masculinity and nations and in the destruction of women, men and the people."
Palavras-chave : Critical legal theory; Foucault; gender and sexuality; human rights; power.