INSEP - International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics

Thinking sexual ethics and politics is a way of grappling with and critically exploring the problems and possibilities of our sexual lives. This acknowledges the many and diverse ways we think about and respond to our and other people’s sexualities, the contexts of sexual rights and justice, and key developments such as sexual commerce and work, sexual health and illness, sexual liberty and repression. Often a focus on the sexual leads beyond the sexual, and a focus on other facets of social life leads to interesting developments in thinking about the sexual.

INSEP, the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics, seeks to promote:

  1. Critical understandings of the ethical problems and possibilities for diverse sexualities;
  2. Critical understandings of the discourses, vocabularies and bodies of knowledge by which sexuality is conceived, understood and articulated in contemporary societies, and their historical lineages;
  3. Critical awareness and evaluations of the beneficence or malfeasance of particular articulations of sexuality, strengths or deficiencies of different sexual cultures and discourses, their historical antecedents and their contemporary patterns of prejudice, pathology and discrimination or practice and advocacy, as well as emergent sexual politics aiming at emancipation and liberation;
  4. Critical understandings of the role of law, politics and culture in the prohibition, permission or regulation of sexualities, both in its oppressive deployment and possibly liberating possibilities in contemporary societies;
  5. And, finally, critical and constructive engagements with sexual ethics itself, thinking through its forms, role and meanings, and its history, present and future.

We see sexual ethics and politics as a critical and discursive enterprise. It is informed by transdisciplinary approaches and characterised by the application of reasoned deliberation and judgement in sexual scholarship. Ethical-political discourses on sexuality are enriched by the insights from both empirical and theoretical work, and by concrete legal, cultural, social, social psychological and political analyses as well as philosophical engagements. We see the ethical commitment of such engagements twofold: developing and extending scholarship and knowledge; and informing legal, policy and political debate in such a way as to encourage change that is ethical and illuminate that which is unethical. As such, we focus on both conceptual and theoretical debates and their political articulation in contemporary societies.

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