Law of Desire?: Interferences, fusions and confusions between law and y sexuality

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Pablo de Olavide University, Seville. Spain
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Ambigua: Revista de Investigaciones de Género y Estudios Culturales

Monograph edited by Juan Jiménez Salcedo (Universidad Pablo de Olavide) and Thomas Hochmann (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne)

Regulation of sexual life is closely related to different ways in which sexuality is considered. The discussions about the prohibition of the prostitution have filled the newspapers headlines in France and in other European countries where sexuality-related prescriptions equally affect its representation. Thus, in year 2009 Frederic Mitterrand was accused of pedophilia as a consequence of the disclosures made by the narrator of his novel La Mauvaise Vie (The Bad Life), which is thought to be an autobiography though some other critics define it as autofiction. Some years before, in 2000, Henri-Claude Cousseau, Bordeaux Contemporary Art Museum Manager, was accused of spreading violent and pornographic messages in the opening of the exhibition "Présumés innocents" (Alleged Innocents).
If pornography, hypertrophic representation of sexuality, has been closely watched, sex practices have been the target of a wide range of legislative measures, which are supposedly tolerant, as it has happened with the same-sex marriage. Regarding this issue, in the USA there is a very intense debate that will be resolved shortly by the Supreme Court. On the other hand, does the legal protection of sexuality justify the prohibition of ablation? This argument has been recently used to criticize a German sentence that was against circumcision. However, if both cases are an attack to the human body integrity, surely the non-comparable consequences should justify a different approach.
Law finds difficulties when judging cases in which sexual paraphilia in the private sphere is linked to violence. Thus, judges and magistrates have to choose between the victim consent and the outrages and mistreatments suffered by the victim. Court faced Armin Meiwes, who killed and ate his willing victim, a man from Berlin who was looking for being eaten as his ultimate pleasure. A similar problem has arisen in the European Court of Human Rights when pronouncing sentence in two affairs of extreme violence in sadomasochistic sex sessions (Laskey, Jaggard and Brown in the UK, K.A. y A.D. in Belgium).
Law can be clearly coercive as it can be seen in the incriminations not only regarding sodomy and other sexual "deviations" but also in terms of sexual assault in which the sexual dimension of rape is linked with its criminal definition to become a specific crime that is much more than a mere aggression (Daniel Borrillo). It becomes the best example of that combination of law and sexuality. On this matter, Marcela Lacub and Patrice Maniglier defend a post-sexual society in which the State would empty the laws of its sexual nature. This fact would place us far from the interference between law and sexuality, in an empty space where these essential elements of societies would be kept clearly separated.
Between these two endings: separation –utopian or real- and complete fusion, we want to explore the multiplicity of relations that can be established in law and sexuality. The editors of this monograph invite contributions that approach the abovementioned theme from different social and human disciplines such as law, literature, history, sociology, anthropology…, and from a wide variety of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives (legislation research, history of representations, sociological field research, literary criticism…) though they should be limited to twentieth and twentieth century.
Those interested in the upcoming issue of the journal should submit a paper to the editors by no later than 1 September 2013. The papers must follow the Guidelines for Authors. The originals must be submitted via platform of Ambigua.