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The Global Politics of Pleasure and Danger: Struggles for Sexual Health and Sexual Rights in the 21st Century

The Global Politics of Pleasure and Danger: Struggles for Sexual Health and Sexual Rights in the 21st Century

This presentation examines key global battlegrounds
related to sexuality and human rights over the course
of the past four decades.
It draws on critical ethnography and historical analysis,
articulated through the work of Sexuality Policy
Watch (SPW), a global collective of researchers, activists
and policymakers, using detailed case studies to
develop cross-cultural comparative analyses of trends
in sexuality politics.
Sources include archival research, discourse analysis,
ethnographic case studies, visual methods and digital
storytelling examining how macro geopolitical forces,
social movements, cultural frameworks and institutional
systems shape debates and practices related to
sexual health and sexual rights within global arenas.
Findings focus on four especially important moments
the development of global debates related to sexuality
and human rights over roughly the past four decades:
(1) The emergence of “health and human rights” as
intersecting frames for addressing issues related to sexuality
during the 1980s and the early 1990s in fields such
as international health and development; (2) The articulation
of a concept of “sexual rights” (as the new kid on
the block in human rights thinking and activism by the
beginning of the 21st century) from the mid-1990s
through the early-2000s; (3) The development of growing
global social movements of abortion/reproductive
rights activists, LGBTQI persons and activists, people
living with HIV (PLHIV) and other AIDS activists, and
sex worker activists, articulating growing global networks
and movements from the early and mid-2000s to
the early 2010s; and (4) The growing backlash against
sexual rights frameworks on the part of conservative
and extreme right-wing political movements taking
place both locally and globally in a growing range of
contexts since the mid-2010s.
Analysis assesses the role of solidarity and coalitionbuilding,
tensions between global discourses and vernacular
rights, and how local circumstances influence
revisions and reframings of sexual rights as articulated
Keywords: Sexual Rights, Sexual Health, Sexual Politics
Source of Funding: Social Science and Humanities
Research Council of Canada and the Ford Foundation
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None

Speakers: Richard Parker