Modernising Sexualities

Towards a Socio-Historical Understanding of Sexualities in the Swiss Nation

by Natalia Gerodetti (Author)
©2005 Thesis XII, 288 Pages


This book examines constructions of sexualities and their intersection with nation-building between the 1890s and the 1930s. Using the unification of the Swiss Criminal Code as an investigative framework this book argues that sexualities and nation are intertwined through ideas and discourses about boundaries, their maintenance and their reproduction which, in the context of national fears and anxieties about degeneration, impacted on practices of inclusion and exclusion in the national imaginary.
The book contributes to emerging debates about gender, sexuality and nation, linking it with literature on eugenics and social politics. Explicitly interdisciplinary, the author examines the regulation of sexuality, gender, age and bodies by using an analysis of the legal, political, medical and «lay» discourses deployed in the discussions of the regulation of sexualities. Resulting are topical chapters on the regulation of same-sex desire, the age of consent and young people’s sexuality, the construction of femininity and masculinity, the role of the women’s social purity movement, the sexual regulation of «feebleminded» women in the context of eugenics, and the sexual politics of the nation.


XII, 288
ISBN (Softcover)
Schweiz Sexualverhalten Sozialpolitik Sexuality Same-Sex Desire Social Hygiene Switzerland Modernisation Modernisierung Social Purity Movement Swiss Criminal Code
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2005. XII, 288 pp.

Biographical notes

Natalia Gerodetti (Author)

The Author: Natalia Gerodetti studied at the University of Leeds between 1994 and 2002 completing a BA in Women’s Studies, an M.A. in Social Research and a Ph.D. in Sociology & Social Policy. The author is currently working at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques et Internationales (IEPI), University of Lausanne, as a post-doctoral research fellow on a research project on the Social and Political Implications of Eugenics funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Title: Modernising Sexualities