The influence and staying power of Gayle Rubin's essay “Thinking Sex” reflect her success in taking the insights of empirical studies of sexuality—particularly, historically informed ethnography—and drawing out their intellectual and political implications so as to permit an astonishingly interdisciplinary engagement. Part of what Rubin has given social scientists (as well as ethnographically minded humanists) is a model of how to link discourse and representation to the domain of practice as enacted within the lived worlds of erotic communities that are marked by their own rituals, politics, institutions, and spatial configurations.

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