Sexuality and Consumption – 18th Century to 21st Century
International conference, November 23/24, 2018, University of Vienna
Organisers: Franz X. Eder, Mario Keller, Johann Kirchknopf, Oliver Kühschelm, Karin Moser, Stefan Ossmann
In western societies today, it goes almost without saying that sex and consumption are closely related. Sexual lifeworlds are highly commodified. On the one hand, there is a plethora of commercial goods and services that shape sexual ideas, desires, and practices. On the other, there are scarcely any products or services that do not lend themselves to sexually charged advertising and mass media communication.
The conference “Sexuality and Consumption” will take a close look at how sex and consumption have interacted since the 18th century. It focuses especially on forms of hybridization. “Sex” and “consumption” are equally suggestive notions that warrant an in-depth discussion about which concepts have been at their core, which meanings have been associated with them and the ways in which they have converged. In the German language both concepts gained currency in the first half of the 19th century while in other European languages their appearance dates already from the 18th century. The conference will take a genealogical approach to how sex and consumption have interacted from the 18th century to the present day.
We invite proposals along the following lines:
1. Theoretical and conceptual reflection on how research can investigate the interplay of sexuality and consumption in an inter/transdisciplinary horizon.
2. Empirical case studies:
a) How did consumer goods sexualise the body and its “coverings” (performance, agency, cultures of gaze, technologies of ‘sexiness’)?
b) The emergence of hybrid/new forms of sex and consumption
c) The interaction of sex and consumption in practices and discourses that aim at enhancing productivity, performance, and health
d) places, things, and media that make sexuality a consumer good and that sexualise consumption
e) research on how gender, sexual orientation, age, class, race/ethnicity, disability intersect in the relation of sex and consumption
f) Public and private practices of sexualised consumption and of commodified sex
g) A genealogy of critique on the commercialisation of sexuality and the sexualisation of products.
We welcome contributions that discuss these or similar aspects from a theoretical or methodological angle or present empirical research from the disciplinary perspective of the historical, cultural and social sciences. In particular, we invite scholars from the historical sciences, sexology, sociology, cultural anthropology, media studies, sociolinguistics, literary studies, and art history.
Please send a proposal (of 3000-4000 characters)