Sexology and the Epistemic Politics of Cultural Anthropology and Sexual Science
This chapter examines the role played by Edward Westermarck, a Finnish/British scholar who was considered the world's leading authority on sexual “morality and marriage,” in the disciplinary transition from the ethnocentrism of Darwinian anthropology to cultural relativism. Westermarck wrote extensively on Morocco and expressed his views based on emerging conceptions of anthropology that sometimes challenged earlier imperial tenets. The chapter analyzes Westermarck's scholarship, particularly his sexual anthropology, in the context of parallel epistemic crises in the disciplines of anthropology and sexual science. It also discusses Westermarck's Moroccan anthropology of homosexuality and argues that it was contradictory. Finally, it looks at the emergence of a new relativist epistemology, first in European sexual science and later in British cultural anthropology, and shows how the integration of anthropology with sexual science gave rise to a more interdisciplinary, less medical view of sexuality.
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