School of History, Classics & Archaeology

New book published by Prof Davidson & Dr Davis

Roger Davidson and Gayle Davis's recently published book 'The Sexual State: Sexuality and Scottish Governance, 1950-80' (Edinburgh University Press) has inspired a feature article in 'Scotland on Sunday' (13th May).

In 'The Sex Factor', Janet Christie discusses the book's main research findings and, based on interviews with both authors, considers Scotland's sexual awakening in the post-war era, the pioneers who battled for change, and the broader social forces at work.

Book cover: The Sexual State

Book abstract: "In exploring the role of the state in the regulation of modern sexuality, historians have largely overlooked the policy-making process in Scotland. Roger Davidson and Gayle Davis lead us through the Scottish sexual landscape leading up to the global crisis of HIV/AIDS, analysing post-war state policy towards issues such as abortion, family planning, homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, sex education and sexual health. The book examines to what extent the policy mindset shifted from a moral and legalistic approach to one that was more permissive. How far did the puritanical elements of Scottish Presbyterianism continue to inhibit policy and to what degree did policy makers empower a broader range of sexual behaviours and moderate the traditional surveillance and censure of female sexuality? Finally, in what respects did Scotland's national identity affect the engagement of the Scottish state with sexual issues?"