Interrogating the Essential

Moral Baselines on Adult-Child Sex

in Boyhood Studies
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In this paper I emphasize the multiple ways dominant moral and essentialist understandings feed into the wider regulatory norms and conventional thinking governing adult‐child sexual relations. Clearly, researchers are not immune from the ascendant material and symbolic hegemony enjoyed by child sexual abuse (CSA) paradigms. Indeed the experience of the seven critical writers and researchers cited in the paper, coupled with the author’s own experiences carrying out PhD research in this area, clearly reinforce this point. I contend that sociological and Foucauldian insights on age and sexual categorization can offer a helpful tool‐kit for unpacking the contested claims from CSA survivors, child liberationists, and the specific case of one respondent who resists victimological labelling of his sexual experiences with adults.

Boyhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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