SOC/LS 325 Sexuality and the Law

Don't get raped protest sign with the word get crossed-out and the D in raped crossed-out to spell out Don't Rape.

What we consider "normal" and deviant behaviour is socially constructed through shared meanings and norms within society. In much the same way, laws are also a social construction which are established to institute structure, order, and often moralistic definitions on acceptable and unacceptable conduct.

In this course, we will work towards understanding societal responses to sexuality by examining strategies that are used to prevent, eliminate, or control certain types of sexual behaviour. In this vein, we will discuss social constructionism, theories of sexual deviance, a historical overview of societal views, shifting definitions of "normal" sexual behaviours, and do so with a focus on certain types of criminalised sexual conduct (e.g., human trafficking for sexual purposes, paraphilias, pornography, incest, sexual assault, and sexually motivated homicide). Throughout the course, particular attention will be paid to understanding these sexual behaviours and societal responses from a social constructionist perspective.