Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality

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9780822351597: Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality
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Winner, 2012 Ruth Benedict Prize by the Association for Queer Anthropology
Finalist, 2012 Lambda Literary Awards, LGBT Studies

Techniques of Pleasure
is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area's pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging, and she interviewed more than sixty SM practitioners. She describes a scene devoted to a form of erotic play organized around technique, rules and regulations, consumerism, and self-mastery. Challenging the notion that SM is inherently transgressive, Weiss links the development of commodity-oriented sexual communities and the expanding market for sex toys to the eroticization of gendered, racialized, and national inequalities. She analyzes the politics of BDSM's spectacular performances, including those that dramatize heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a "safe space" separate from real-world inequality. It depends, like all sexual desire, on social hierarchies. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit--one connecting the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms.

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About the Author:

Margot Weiss is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University.

Review:

"In what Weiss calls circuits, readers see the complex interactions among beliefs, experiences, fantasy, freedom (laws/rules), individualism, opportunities, and public expectations in sexual performance... The analysis of these circuits is quite fascinating and could be expanded outside the BDSM scene to explore sexual fantasy and performance in any affluent, educated, tech-savvy culture. Recommended to readers interested in human sexuality." Scott Vieira, Library Journal

"I cannot emphasize enough how vital the analysis in Techniques of Pleasure is. Margot Weiss reveals the half-lie of 'safe space' in the BDSM world and, in doing so, artfully unveils the half-lies that propel ideas of 'agency' and 'choice' in neoliberal culture." Annalee Newitz, author of Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Popular Culture

"Techniques of Pleasure is a wonderful, theoretically significant, and ethnographically rich book. Margot Weiss contextualizes the development of the Bay Area's BDSM scene, analyzing contemporary BDSM as bio-political practice. Examining the complex connections between discipline and freedom, subject formation and subjugation, power and play, Weiss extends feminist and queer theoretical debates about identity, community, sexuality, gender, race, and the nature of power. This book breaks new theoretical ground in relation not only to BDSM but also to questions of personhood, political economy, and embodiment in late capitalism." David Valentine, author of Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category

"Margot Weiss, author of the ethnographic study, Techniques of Pleasure, visits Mr. S and many other venues of S-and-M play, unknowingly recalling the quest for pleasure offered at Mrs. Berkley's salon... her book is a useful scholarly monograph on how once perversions of the select have become indulgences of the many... Weiss's book needs to be read as a case study of this new sexual culture, an anthropologist's exploration of a distinct sub-set - the San Francisco S-and-M scene - of this revolution." David Rosen, The Brooklyn Rail

“Techniques of Pleasure is an impressive book that does much to humanize BDSM to those who wish to get involved in the community or simply wish to be better educated about the topic. . . . Weiss exposes a world that is typically viewed as dank and dark by the casual outsider; through her insightful analysis, she brings this subculture into the light and shows us the ‘softer side of kink.’”--C. J. Bishop, Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality

“... Weiss’s book offers a fascinating extension of debates about the sexual politics of neoliberalism, and a consideration of how local economic changes in the San Francisco Bay Area have reconfigured sexual communities there...”—Gavin Brown, Society and Space

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area s pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging, and she interviewed more than sixty SM practitioners. She describes a scene devoted to a form of erotic play organized around technique, rules and regulations, consumerism, and self-mastery. Challenging the notion that SM is inherently transgressive, Weiss links the development of commodity-oriented sexual communities and the expanding market for sex toys to the eroticization of gendered, racialized, and national inequalities. She analyzes the politics of BDSM s spectacular performances, including those that dramatize heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a safe space separate from real-world inequality. It depends, like all sexual desire, on social hierarchies. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit-one connecting the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822351597

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area s pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging, and she interviewed more than sixty SM practitioners. She describes a scene devoted to a form of erotic play organized around technique, rules and regulations, consumerism, and self-mastery. Challenging the notion that SM is inherently transgressive, Weiss links the development of commodity-oriented sexual communities and the expanding market for sex toys to the eroticization of gendered, racialized, and national inequalities. She analyzes the politics of BDSM s spectacular performances, including those that dramatize heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a safe space separate from real-world inequality. It depends, like all sexual desire, on social hierarchies. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit-one connecting the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822351597

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area's pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at works.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 315 pages. 0.463. Seller Inventory # 9780822351597

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