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Men who have sex with men in Calcutta: gender, discourse and anthropology

Boyce, Paul (2005) Men who have sex with men in Calcutta: gender, discourse and anthropology. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In this thesis I analyse paradigms for the conceptualisation of male-to-male sexuality as put forward in HIV/AIDS programming in India. This is an especially pertinent project; over the last decade, international and national HIV/AIDS agencies working in India have increasingly identified men who have sex with men as a ‘target population’ for community based intervention. By contrast, within the broader milieu of Indian society the notion of homosexual identity exercises little cognitive grip as a salient category for the constitution of specific persons. This is not withstanding ‘modern’, predominantly urban, middle class popularisations of ‘gay’ identity, nor the specification of various ‘indigenous’ categories of male-to-male sexuality, which have predominantly been outlined in policy oriented research. As a counterpoint to these concerns my research explores the experiences of men who have sex with men in Calcutta for whom categories of homosexual identity are either completely unfamiliar or, where used, inscribed within a far more subtle mesh of conflicting emotions and allegiances than current studies elucidate. Moreover, I argue that in many contemporary Indian contexts homosexuality is most often signified within relational tropes and social spaces made available within heteronormative parameters. Homosexuality therefore has an isomorphic correspondence to identity, meaning that policy and research needs better conceptions of the tacit conditions of sexual subjectivity. My thesis explores what this assertion means for the cross-cultural study of male-to-male sexuality and HIV/AIDS policy and programming.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2005 Paul Boyce
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Collections > LSE History of Thought theses
Supervisor: Moore, Henrietta and Hemmings, Clare

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