Section 377 of the Indian
Penal Code is one among the large and complex system of laws,
policies, and practices aimed at mitigating
the threat of homosexuality. This statute endangers a range of
subjects, including religious minorities, who are troublingly
considered prone to same-sex behavior.
Puri tracks the efforts to decriminalize homosexuality and to show
that the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the
enduring existence of the state in order
to understand how Section 377 is governed. Through extensive
fieldwork among state institutions, she finds that the law and state
agencies such as the police are pre-occupied with managing sexuality
and its perceived threat to the social order. Equally interested in
efforts to modify Section 377, this book draws on encounters with
sexuality rights activists to highlight the approaches and strategies
that have evolved over the course of their struggle.
also discusses the shutting down of dance bars, modifications in rape
laws, and efforts to curtail migration from Bangladesh to show that
regulating sexuality more generally helps uphold regional and
national states as inevitable, legitimate, and indispensable. By
highlighting the heterogeneous sexual states in the Indian context,
Puri provides a framework to understand the links between sexuality
and the state.
book will be of significant interest to scholars and students of
sexuality and gender studies, sociology, anthropology, political
science, and legal studies.
is Professor of Sociology at Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts.
Part I. Introduction
1. Governing Sexuality, Constituting States
2. Engendering Social Problems, Exposing Sexuality’s Effects on Biopolitical States
Part II. Sexual Lives of Juridical Governance
3. State Scripts: Antisodomy Law and the Annals of Law and Law Enforcement
4. “Half Truths”: Racializations, Habitual Criminals, and the Police
Part III. Opposing Law, Contesting Governance
5. Pivoting toward the State: Phase One of the Struggle against
6. State versus Sexuality: Decriminalizing and Recriminalizing Homosexuality in the Postliberalized Context