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NCJ Number: 140499 Find in a Library
Title: Homosexuality in Male Prisons: Demonstrating the Need for a Social Constructionist Approach
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:17  Issue:2  Dated:(Autumn 1992)  Pages:219- 234
Author(s): H M Eigenberg
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 16
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: There are two basic approaches taken in the literature toward homosexuality. The essentialist approach classifies men solely as homosexual or heterosexual and views sexual orientation as a static and permanent characteristic. The social constructionist approach defines sexual orientation based on a continuum ranging from exclusive homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and examines the factors that might cause individuals to change their sexual orientation at different times in their lives.
Abstract: Most literature on homosexuality in prisons takes the essentialist approach, forcing researchers to explain why apparently heterosexual men engage in homosexual behavior while in prison. Some researchers have added rapists as a sexual orientation classification, arguing that these men rape as a result of their sexual deprivation. This author argues that research predicated on a social constructionist approach would focus on the social construction of sexual identities of prison inmates, how inmates' sexual orientation develops in response to incarceration, and how men negotiate their sexual identities when they choose to participate in homosexual behavior in prison. Such research could contribute to the broader paradigmatic debate between essentialists and social constructionists while providing information crucial in the development of future AIDS prevention policies. 14 notes and 85 references
Main Term(s): Homosexuality; Inmate attitudes
Index Term(s): AIDS/HIV in correctional facilities; Sexual behavior
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