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Let's not talk about Italian sex: the reception of the Kinsey Reports in Italy

Morris, P. (2013) Let's not talk about Italian sex: the reception of the Kinsey Reports in Italy. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 18 (1). pp. 17-32. ISSN 1354 571X (doi:10.1080/1354571X.2013.730271)

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Abstract

This article analyses of the reception of Alfred Kinsey's two reports – Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948, trans. 1950) and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female (1953, trans. 1955) – in a range of magazines and newspapers in 1950s Italy. It offers an insight into Italian attitudes towards sexuality at a time when such matters were rarely the subject of public discourse. It reveals a deep ambiguity in those attitudes, showing them to be closely enmeshed with notions of Italian, European or Latin identity, and characterized by certain perceptions of gender roles and of the place of emotion in Italian society and by an assertion of the ‘otherness’ of America. Rejecting the reports as morally dangerous, or, by contrast, as offering nothing new to a wise, old Europe, responses to Kinsey in the 1950s attempted to suppress further public discussion of Italian sexuality, yet were themselves part of the very process that, by the end of the decade, saw Italians begin to turn the spotlight on themselves.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morris, Dr Penelope
Authors: Morris, P.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DG Italy
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Journal Name:Journal of Modern Italian Studies
ISSN:1354 571X
ISSN (Online):1469-9583
Published Online:2 January 2013

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