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BiocitizenshipThe Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power$
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Kelly E. Happe, Jenell Johnson, and Marina Levina

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479845194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479845194.001.0001

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Governing Sexual Health

Governing Sexual Health

Bridging Biocitizenship and Sexual Citizenship

(p.21) 1 Governing Sexual Health

Steven Epstein

NYU Press

This chapter describes how sexual health has become a touchstone in discussions about political belonging in the United States. By linking the management of the individual body to the governance of the social body, proponents of sexual health projects define healthy societies, responsible conduct, and “good” and “bad” sexual citizens. While the uptake of sexual health by federal health agencies suggests movement toward the centralized administration of the concept, other uses of the term escape the control of any central biomedical or state authority. This essay considers how projects of sexual health, some organized by the state and some the efforts of a politically diverse range of activists, circulate within worlds of politics and governance. It concludes that as proponents of sexual health work to establish the proper relations between bodily conduct and social order, they offer a range of templates for modern biocitizenship.

Keywords:   Sexual health, Biosexual citizenship, Public health, Health policy, Activism

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