The Sexual Economy of War: Discipline and Desire in the U.S. Army

TitleThe Sexual Economy of War: Discipline and Desire in the U.S. Army
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsByers, Andrew
Number of Pages278
PublisherCornell University Press
CityIthaca, U.S.
Abstract

This book explores how the U.S. Army of the early twentieth century, on institutional and individual levels, perceived and intervened in a host of issues related to sexuality: marriage and family life, prostitution and veneral disease, rape and sexual violence, same-sex sexuality, and masculinity, among others. It examines how the army sought to regulate and shape the sexual behaviors of soldiers and the civilians with whom they came into sexual contact. The sexual cultures, practices, and behaviors of soldiers and their partners, along with the U.S. Army's efforts to regulate their sexuality, constitute what the author describes as the "sexual economy of war." The narrative traces the changing conditions brought about by new military comitments with the expansion into global politics, as well as increasing efforts to manage and shape sexuality in far-flung locales, as well as involvement in World War I, when the American experience in Europe and the massive wartime conscription effort brought new challenges to preexisting notions of sexuality and increased concern with surveilling and regulating soldiers' sexuality. Following the war, the army's and, more broadly, American conceptions and categorizations of sexuality became more rigidly codified. The book ends on the cusp of American involvement in World War II and the tremendous changes triggered by the war. [Author]

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1050142432

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