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Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality Paperback – December 20, 2011
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"In what Weiss calls circuits, readers see the complex interactions among beliefs, experiences, fantasy, freedom (laws/rules), individualism, opportunities, and public expectations in sexual performance... The analysis of these circuits is quite fascinating and could be expanded outside the BDSM scene to explore sexual fantasy and performance in any affluent, educated, tech-savvy culture. Recommended to readers interested in human sexuality." Scott Vieira, Library Journal
"I cannot emphasize enough how vital the analysis in Techniques of Pleasure is. Margot Weiss reveals the half-lie of 'safe space' in the BDSM world and, in doing so, artfully unveils the half-lies that propel ideas of 'agency' and 'choice' in neoliberal culture." Annalee Newitz, author of Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Popular Culture
"Techniques of Pleasure is a wonderful, theoretically significant, and ethnographically rich book. Margot Weiss contextualizes the development of the Bay Area's BDSM scene, analyzing contemporary BDSM as bio-political practice. Examining the complex connections between discipline and freedom, subject formation and subjugation, power and play, Weiss extends feminist and queer theoretical debates about identity, community, sexuality, gender, race, and the nature of power. This book breaks new theoretical ground in relation not only to BDSM but also to questions of personhood, political economy, and embodiment in late capitalism." David Valentine, author of Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category
"Margot Weiss, author of the ethnographic study, Techniques of Pleasure, visits Mr. S and many other venues of S-and-M play, unknowingly recalling the quest for pleasure offered at Mrs. Berkley's salon... her book is a useful scholarly monograph on how once perversions of the select have become indulgences of the many... Weiss's book needs to be read as a case study of this new sexual culture, an anthropologist's exploration of a distinct sub-set - the San Francisco S-and-M scene - of this revolution." David Rosen, The Brooklyn Rail
“Techniques of Pleasure is an impressive book that does much to humanize BDSM to those who wish to get involved in the community or simply wish to be better educated about the topic. . . . Weiss exposes a world that is typically viewed as dank and dark by the casual outsider; through her insightful analysis, she brings this subculture into the light and shows us the ‘softer side of kink.’”--C. J. Bishop, Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality
“... Weiss’s book offers a fascinating extension of debates about the sexual politics of neoliberalism, and a consideration of how local economic changes in the San Francisco Bay Area have reconfigured sexual communities there...”—Gavin Brown, Society and Space
About the Author
Margot Weiss is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University.
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I emphasize that for all of Weiss' criticisms, she fundamentally _gets_ BDSM, even as a non-participant. She understands that BDSM makes possible pleasures and intimacies that are not possible any other way.
In answer to some of the other reviews, Weiss comes from anthropology, not psychology. She studied a particular section of the greater BDSM culture, the semi-public, heterosexual, SF Bay-area subculture of play parties, workshops, munches and other events.