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Sadomasochism in the United States: A Review of Recent Sociological Literature

Thomas S. Weinberg
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 50-69
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3812541
Page Count: 20
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Sadomasochism in the United States: A Review of Recent Sociological Literature
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Abstract

In the last several years, a new body of sociological literature on sadomasochism (S&M) has begun to appear. The perspective of this corpus of work is quite different from that of more traditional approaches. Although differing within its own discipline in theoretical orientation and research methods, the sociological approach nevertheless shares a common ground: the idea that S&M is dependent upon meanings, which are culturally produced, learned, and reinforced in S&M subcultures. In the present paper I assess the contributions of this new literature by providing: (a) a brief review of the most important sociological contributions in terms of temporal priority, theoretical issues raised, and implications for larger issues; (b) a discussion and assessment of what is now known about a number of sociological issues and an attempt to resolve some definitional problems in the study of S&M; and (c) suggestions for additional directions for future research on S&M.

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