On the Elementary Forms of the Socioerotic Life

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In this article I undertake an analysis of erotic sexual intercourse - commonly, and more accurately, designated as love-making - in the spirit of Durkheim's social analysis of religion. Thus, based on a phenomenological semiotic analysis of the peculiar things we do and feel in the course of making love, I propose, first, to uncover the implicit ‘logic’ that generates and governs these distinctly sociable doings and sociable feelings. Second, I proceed to suggest that the sameself logic, albeit in an attenuated version, also generates and governs the broad class of ‘social occasions proper’, and that this homology calls for gathering erotic and social occasions under one and the same rubric, which I propose to call the ‘socio-erotic’ (since the term ‘social’ has been denatured through overuse). Third, I conclude with a discussion of how socio-erotic domains fit into a larger world structured and governed mainly by interest-driven and power-driven conflictual fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-110
Number of pages40
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


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