2 Int'l J. Child. Rts. 1 (1994)
Falling Angels - The Material Construction of Children as Sexual Citizens

handle is hein.journals/intjchrb2 and id is 11 raw text is: The International Journal of Children's Rights 2: 1-33, 1994.
 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Falling angels? - the material construction of
children as sexual citizens
Department of Sociology, University of Glasgow, U.K.
In late twentieth century capitalism, hooked on the Sexual Fix (Heath 1982)
in which sexuality is the lubricant of consumerism (Greer 1984) and the
medium through which people seek to define their personalities and ... to
be conscious of themselves (Foucault and Sennett 1981: 183), innocent
children have emerged as at least proto-sexual citizens (Evans 1993). Their
sexual status and attendant civil, political and social rights (Marshall 1950)
have become more specifically formalised within the law and machineries
of state, whilst in market relations, they increasingly participate as commodity-
consuming sexual subjects as well as consumed objects. Behind the forceful
reiteration of children's immutable-because-innate asexuality and the need
for enhanced protective vigilance in an invasive corrupting world, children
are being socialised from a variety of sources into elaborate sexual scripts
(Gagnon and Simon 1986), colonised by forms of sexual knowledge, and
encouraged to pursue rights claims through the courts and to purchase
their desires, identities and lifestyles. This essay seeks to explain how and
Grave objects of concern
The construction of children as grave objects of concern, as vulnerable to
all manner of seductions, has been a remarkable feature of the sexualisation
of modern societies. This pedagogisation of childhood (Foucault 1981),
initially as a distinct idyllic and asexual stage in pre-adult personal develop-
ment (Krafft-Ebing 1965), and later as a period of undirected latent sexual
energy under siege from innumerable exploitative others, became broadly
established with the bourgeois elevation of the domestic realm to a haven of
privacy, serenity, comfort and health, within which this precarious innocence
could, it was believed, be safely ensconced (Donzelot 1980).'
Embellished negatively through facts on abuse incidence (Baker and Duncan
1986; NSPCC 1989; Finkelhor 1984; la Fontaine 1988 etc.),2 clinical studies
' Here child will be used to describe all those pre-adults otherwise distinguished as infants,
children and adolescents. See Ruddick (1989).
2 Given the current reconstruction retrospectively of child sexual abuse, and inherent problems

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