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Loneliness and Its Opposite: Sex, Disability, and the Ethics of Engagement

By
Don Kulick
Don Kulick

Don Kulick is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His books include Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes.

Jens Rydström is Professor of Gender Studies at Lund University (Sweden). His books include Sinners and Citizens: Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden, 1880-1950.

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Jens Rydström
Jens Rydström

Don Kulick is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His books include Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes.

Jens Rydström is Professor of Gender Studies at Lund University (Sweden). His books include Sinners and Citizens: Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden, 1880-1950.

Search for other works by this author on:
Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7584-5
Publication date:
2015

Few people these days would oppose making the public realm of space, social services and jobs accessible to women and men with disabilities. But what about access to the private realm of desire and sexuality? How can one also facilitate access to that, in ways that respect the integrity of disabled adults, and also of those people who work with and care for them?

Loneliness and Its Opposite documents how two countries generally imagined to be progressive engage with these questions in very different ways. Denmark and Sweden are both liberal welfare states, but they diverge dramatically when it comes to sexuality and disability. In Denmark, the erotic lives of people with disabilities are acknowledged and facilitated. In Sweden, they are denied and blocked. Why do these differences exist, and how do both facilitation and hindrance play out in practice?

Loneliness and Its Opposite charts complex boundaries between private and public, love and sex, work and intimacy, and affection and abuse. It shows how providing disabled adults with access to sexual lives is not just crucial for a life with dignity. It is an issue of fundamental social justice with far reaching consequences for everyone.

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