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Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle Over the Antisodomy Law in India
Published by Duke University Press
In Sexual States Jyoti Puri uses the example of the recent efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in India to show how the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the creation and enduring existence of the Indian state.
In Sexual States Jyoti Puri tracks the efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in India to show how the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the creation and enduring existence of the state. Since 2001 activists have attempted to rewrite Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which in addition to outlawing homosexual behavior is often used to prosecute a range of activities and groups that are considered perverse. Having interviewed activists and NGO workers throughout five metropolitan centers, investigated crime statistics and case law, visited various state institutions, and met with the police, Puri found that Section 377 is but one element of how homosexuality is regulated in India. This statute works alongside the large and complex system of laws, practices, policies, and discourses intended to mitigate sexuality's threat to the social order while upholding the state as inevitable, legitimate, and indispensable. By highlighting the various means through which the regulation of sexuality constitutes India's heterogeneous and fragmented sexual state, Puri provides a conceptual framework to understand the links between sexuality and the state more broadly.
Acknowledgments vii Part One. Introduction 1. Governing Sexuality, Constituting States 3 2. Engendering Social Problems, Exposing Sexuality's Effects on Biopolitical States 24 Part Two. Sexual Lives of Juridicial Governance 3. State Scripts: Antisodomy Law and the Annals of Law and Law Enforcement 49 4. Half Truths : Racialization, Habitual Criminals, and the Police 74 Part Three. Opposing Law, Contesting Governance 5. Pivoting toward the State: Phase One of the Struggle against Section 377 101 6. States versus Sexuality: Decriminalizing and Recriminalizing Homosexuality in the Postliberalized Context 126 Afterlives 150 Notes 165 Bibliography 193 Index 211
Jyoti Puri is Professor of Sociology at Simmons College and the author of Encountering Nationalism.
Reviewer: Nicolas Levi
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