Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 26

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography http://jce.sagepub.

com/

Becoming a Sadomasochist : Integrating Self and Other in Ethnographic Analysis


Staci Newmahr Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 2008 37: 619 DOI: 10.1177/0891241607310626 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jce.sagepub.com/content/37/5/619

Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com

Additional services and information for Journal of Contemporary Ethnography can be found at: Email Alerts: http://jce.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://jce.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Citations: http://jce.sagepub.com/content/37/5/619.refs.html

>> Version of Record - Sep 12, 2008 What is This?

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Becoming a Sadomasochist
Integrating Self and Other in Ethnographic Analysis
Staci Newmahr
Queens CollegeCUNY

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography Volume 37 Number 5 October 2008 619-643 2008 Sage Publications 10.1177/0891241607310626 http://jce.sagepub.com hosted at http://online.sagepub.com

Based on a four-year ethnographic study of an SM community, this article blends analytic and interpretative approaches to ethnographic writing, in order to illustrate the value of incorporating subjectivity into traditional ethnographic analysis. I juxtapose field notes about my own participation in SM with stories of outsiderness among members of the community. I argue that analytical attention to my own experience of becoming a member of this community illuminated for me some of the discursive, psychological, and carnal processes through which SM comes to be a central and fulfilling part of participants lives. This elucidates the intellectual reciprocity between ethnographic introspection and ethnographic understanding, and offers additional insight into an understudied community. Keywords: ethnography; sadomasochism; subjectivity; analytic ethnography; interpretive ethnography

ontemporary debates over ethnographic approaches converge on three related matters: representation, epistemology, and the role of the ethnographer, both in the field and in her writing. The postmodern view of ethnography as a jointly constructed narrative rather than an accurate objective depiction of social reality has gained support in recent years, and despite increasing crossover between the two, questions concerning the role of the ethnographer remain unsettled. In the field and in her writing, what the ethnographer does with her feelings, her presence, her narrative, her voice, her body, and her sexuality is a matter of interest for ethnographers across disciplines and intellectual inheritances. At times, the objectives of ethnography themselves are at issue. The disagreements between realist (Van Maanen 1995) or academic ethnography (Rinehart 1998) and postmodernist ethnographies that have been termed interpretive (Denzin 1997), fictional (Rinehart 1998), and evocative (Anderson 2006a) are not necessarily over the roles of subjectivity and
619

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

620

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

introspection, but over their intentions. Advocates of subjectivity in ethnography have been accused of navel-gazing (Jarvie 1988) and indulging in a celebration of the personality of the anthropologist (Ryang 2000). Postmodernist ethnographers have responded with claims that realist ethnographers fail to recognize the visceral quality of understanding (Denzin 1995) and called analytic ethnography an attempt to contain, limit, and silence the personal, or the self, in the research context (Burnier 2006, 417). Some scholars subscribe to the possibility of an integrated approach (Anderson 1999; Lerum 2001) and others have ventured examples of integration, blending personal introspection with conventional analytical approaches (Frank 2002; Ronai 1995). This article offers another example of this integration by utilizing subjective analysisof my experiences, my reflections, and the meanings I madein the context of the field I was studying. Based on four years of ethnographic fieldwork in a sadomasochist (SM)1 community in the northeastern United States, I illustrate one way in which a deliberate and conscious integration of ethnographic perspectives can work, and what it can provide. I incorporate my own narratives to evoke a sense of being there, and also to illuminate complexities that become understandable but lose some of their potency when explored in isolation from one another. Furthermore, I vacillate between analytical subjects, treating both Other and Self as subjects of analysis in my endeavor to understand this community. This subjectivity, however, differs from self-reflexivity. I am not considering (in this article) my impact on the field so much as what we might learn from the fields impact on me. Privileging the symbiotic relationship between subjective data and critical knowledge (Lerum 2001, 480), I argue that this juxtaposition of the objective and the subjective draws explicitly on the strengths of archetypal realist and postmodernist ethnography. Therefore I maintain that it is not what Ryang views as a self-serving tool of some Western academics who try to obtain their ontological security at the expense of the readers (2000, 315), but an integrated approach. The narrative passages included here are representations of my actual field experiences. Nonetheless, though the characters and events in these passages are real, this writing is a product more of my post-field analysis than of my reflections during fieldwork. Having been altered retrospectively, I regard them as fictionalized, and they are separated and italicized to call attention to these differences. They contain nothing I would call invented, though, and they therefore cannot claim to be what Frank means by ethnographically grounded fiction (Frank 2000, 481).

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

621

I also include excerpts from interview transcripts and field notes. These sections appear in blocked text and have undergone very little editing beyond the omission of less relevant sections (indicated by bracketed ellipses). The distinction between my immediate responses to my field experiences and my post-distancing analysis and synthesis is particularly relevant in a work that draws heavily on bodily experience in the field. If fictionalized accounts can paint a vivid partial truth of a community, then the counterbalance of personal introspection while in the field can illuminate aspects of the experience perhaps equally elusive in analytical writing. I seek to simultaneously draw on multiple sources of data and generate multiple forms of representation, and to meet at least some of the multilayered and sometimes incompatible responsibilities of ethnographic research. Norman Denzin claims that the work of the good realist ethnographer has always been to study and understand a social setting, a social group, or a social problem . . . these researchers were self-reflexive but not selfobsessed. (2006, 421) It was this kind of ethnographer I aspired to be when I began; I felt resolutely that this project was not about me. Ultimately, however, I realized that to understand the SM community the way I wanted tothe way Geertz (1995, 44) described the anthropological endeavor: You put yourself in its way and it bodies forth and enmeshes youit was indeed going to have to be, at least in part, about me.

The Ethnographer as Subject


I told Russ2 I would be ready in a minute. When I returned to the room, he wasnt there. Suddenly someone grabbed my hair from behind me and pushed me up to the cross at the wall, putting my arms above my head. My heart was pounding; I knew it was Russ, but I also knew people were watching uswatching me. He slid the blindfold over my eyes (which made me slightly less self-conscious) and gently pulled my hair out from underneath it. He lifted my shirt over my head and removed it. He cuffed my left wrist and fastened it to the bolt above. I remember feeling relieved; I hadnt known what to do with my hands. He did the same with my right hand. I spread my feet apart a little bit, and he hit them back and forth to indicate that he wanted me to spread them further, which was, it turned out, a good idea and I was soon glad he did it. He trailed his fingers along my shoulders and back before beginning to flog me with a very light, barely stingy touch, which felt nice. It changed rather quickly; I dont really remember the transition, he hit me and I thought Whoa, that was hard . . .but it didnt quite hurt. [ . . . ]

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

622

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

A few strokes later, I forgot entirely about the people watching me, and about how I was going to remember everything or when I was going to write it. I also forgot about Russ. In the beginning I had been picturing him back there; I could hear him breathing. But at some point I thought of nothing except the feeling . . . I dont think Ive ever felt that single-minded before. The only thing on my mind was when the next blow was going to come. Its a difficult sensation to describe. Its quite forceful; I was aware that it was somehow hard. I knew that he was swinging it hard and I knew it was landing hard; I felt the profundity of the blows . . . but I never thought Ow. Its not an ow, really. It feels like the noise you make when you get into a really hot bath and its too hot but you like it anyway . . . a sigh and a moan at the same time. No matter how hard it was, it felt like that soundintense but ambiguous. He stepped up behind me three or four times, grabbing my hair and checking in on me. He asked me how I was doing. I told him I was fine. Another time he came close and grabbed my hair. I said Hi! and laughed. I think he laughed a little bit . . . he said Hi and asked how I was doing. I felt giddy and just . . . gleeful. I felt in lovenot with anyone in particular, but somehow head over heels. [ . . . ] Afterwards, I was most definitely a little out of it. I had a very hard time remembering that Simonnew to the scene that nightwas someone I didnt already know, and I kept speaking to him with too much familiarity, asking him, You were in here? Right there? The whole time? I remember someone talking about the childhood rhyme Fuzzy Wuzzy, but I couldnt quite follow the conversation. I babbled about somethingI dont remember whatbut I caught myself at some point and thought, or maybe said aloud, Im not making very much sense. I was talking to Simon when Russ asked me from across the room whether I was okay. I made a thumbs-up sign and said, Im aces. Aces? (Field notes, October 2002)

Although I adhere to many of the creative analytical practices (Denzin 2006) that typify autoethnographic work, this project was not, and is not, autoethnography.3 I began participating in SM play within a few months of beginning my fieldwork, but there were significant ways in which I remained an outsider in this community. Before the SM scene described above, I was, like most people, someone who had never done anything like it. I had never (at least not since childhood) had my hair pulled, nor been shirtless in view of a dozen other people. I had certainly never stood blindfolded and cuffed to a cross while

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

623

a person I barely knew hit me repeatedly on the back with a large leather flogger. It had never occurred to me that the experience of flogging might be akin to that of a rigorous deep tissue massage, and though I was aware of the claim that SM could cause the altered state commonly referred to as subspace, I did not quite believe it. The boundary between freedom of movement and restraint was also new to me, and the fact that I was restrained in public was most significant. I was aware of my ambivalencefeminist in all directionsof my role in engaging in this symbolic space. I found this performance of powerlessness troublesome and intellectually fascinating; the contradiction between being too tough to do this and being tough enough to do this was both meaningful and palpable to me. Finally, although I was overwhelmed by intellectual and emotional ambivalence at the beginning of the scene, the intensity of the sensory assault had facilitated in me an uncharacteristic single-mindedness by the time it ended. My analysis of this sceneof the interaction, of my own internal and external responses, of the notes I wroteyielded insights that paved the way for an understanding of SM that extended well beyond my own introspection. Because I did not like pain, my understanding of the sensations I was experiencing was muddy and confusing. Preliminary research had inspired much thought about the pain/pleasure dichotomy, but I had no lived experience on which to draw, and I found myself completely unable to determine whether to categorize this flogging as painful. It felt, I later tried to explain to friends and colleagues, like a 500-pound gorilla pounding me across the upper back with his forearmdiffuse but very hard.4 Despite my best intellectual efforts, the fact that the sensation was pleasurable seemed to indicate to me that it could not (therefore) be painful. This inability to understand pain that did not quite hurt led me to an understanding of the conceptual dissonance between eroticism and violence in the Caeden community (and beyond). On an emotional level, I found my response both unexpected and bizarre. I would not have been surprised to feel anger, catharsis, resentment, victimization, turmoil of one sort or another, all of which I had been prepared to explore in a participant-observation study of SM. I did not expect gratitude to be a salient and profound part of my experience. My first impulse was to pathologize my response; was this, I wondered, something similar to capture-bonding, the psychological explanation for Stockholm syndrome? Knowing little about Stockholm syndrome, but doubting that a forty-minute consensual flogging scene would have produced it, I moved beyond the discourse of pathology.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

624

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

On the most comfortable level, my gratitude to Russ was professional. I had moved from observer to participant, and for the first time I was fully convinced that I would not be able to understand SM without doing SM. Because Russ was the person who had, in a sense, facilitated what was a role shift for me, I felt grateful to him for having helped me to move my project along. But I was also compelled to confront a more personal gratitude. The intensity of the sensation had stopped the constant barrage of ever-racing thoughts, an effect I had not anticipated and with which I was tremendously impressed. The power of this bodily experience trumped the power of my compulsion to think, and I felt grateful to Russ for what I was experiencing, paradoxically, as liberation. I was also glad to be unharmed. By this time, I was familiar with the basics of SM safety, and I felt comfortable with Russ. However, I was aware that an accident in such a situation could have been injurious, and unlike the myriad risks in everyday life, this one was not easily justifiable for me. Ironically, I felt closer to Russ because we had entered into a situation in which the possibility of harm was higher than usual, and he had not caused me harm. My appreciation that I was not injured, then, translated into gratitude toward Russthat he was skilled enough to avoid harming me. Put in the terms of the community discourse, Russ had kept me safe. The fact that I had fully expected this outcome did not mitigate the gratitude I felt for its arrival. These introspections about my own play contributed to my overall understanding of SM. The feeling of gratitude, I learned through subsequent investigation, is common for many SM participants, particularly when bottoming. This sense of gratitude is bound up in notions of power, submission, and dominance in complex ways in SM. It is not part of the discourse, however; had I not experienced it and chosen to examine this part of my experience, I would likely not have investigated its role in SM interactions. Finally, this was a new and profound bodily experience, and Russ was not only the person with whom I shared it, but also the person at whose hands it occurred. The movements of the body during a flogging (and during most SM play) are not the same as movements during dancing, sports, or sex; the response that was being produced in, and performed by, me was unfamiliar. The sounds I made were sounds I did not recognize, and I assume that the expressions on my face would not be recognizable to people I know in other social contexts. Boundariesboth normative and personal were transgressed with every strike of the flogger, every bodily response, and every glance of the observers. I was aware that I was granting Russ and

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

625

the onlookers access to normally hidden (and previously unfamiliar) aspects of my self. Somehow, I felt, they now knew me better. From the decision to be there to the actions and my responses, these boundary transgressions generated in me a greater sense of intimacy with Russ, and to a lesser extent, with all those who had witnessed it. These aspects of the SM experiencefeelings of gratitude, access and intimacyare not salient in the discourse of the community. Some of them are so taken for granted that it is uninteresting to community members, and some of them are simply unexplored. My willingness to examine the very personal sense that I made of my first SM sceneand how it made me feelgenerated formative insights. Additionally, my feminist sensibility was problematized in a way I could only have imagined had I not tried to be honest about what I felt when I played. The (gendered) paradoxes of strength, endurance, vulnerability, and victimization shifted from the theoretical to the physical and psychological, a shift that profoundly informed my field experience and my writing.

Sadomasochism as Subject
Because little has been written about how SM works, and the social settings in which it occurs, it has not been distinguished conceptually from its nominal legacy. The uncritical acceptance of this intellectual inheritance underlies our disinclination to understand SM as a social interaction. KraftEbbings introduction of the terms (1965 [1886]) along with some of the writings of de Sade (1965 and 1966) and von Sacher-Masoch (1989 [1870]) themselves carved out the intellectual space in which we now understand nonconsensual sadistic crime, various forms of self-abuse and consensual SM participation as manifestations of the same phenomenon. Most commonly studied within a medical-pathological paradigm by psychologists (see Taylor 1997 for a review), SMs academic consideration elsewhere has been limited. It catapulted into scholarly discourse as a battleground of the feminist sex wars. The lesbian-feminist SM manifesto Coming to Power (SAMOIS 1982) and the radical-feminist indictment Against Sadomasochism (Linden et al. 1982) brought public and academic attention to the topic, but the fight remained primarily theoretical. Despite the interest in rhetoric, very little feminist research was actually being conducted on SM. In the heat of the decade-long conflict over feminist sexuality, the contributions of early empirical work on SM (Kamel 1980; Moser 1998; Scott 1983; Weinberg 1978; Weinberg and Falk 1980) garnered relatively

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

626

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

little attention, and SM never quite emerged as an important academic issue in its own right.5 It is, however, beginning to generate significant interest in the social sciences. Psychology is turning to a social-psychological approach (Moser 1998; Moser and Madeson 1996) to better understand SM, and social theorists are increasingly exploring discourses of dominance and submission (Langdridge 2006; Langdridge and Butt 2004, 2005; Taylor and Ussher 2001), following Plummers pivotal work on sexual stories (1995). In taking discourse about SM as their focus, these analyses proceed from the problematic assumption that what links SM participants most significantly to one another is the fact they engage in SM. Even more problematically, this engagement remains unexamined. Although there are exceptions across disciplines (Cross and Matheson 2006; Dancer, Kleinplatz, and Moser 2006; Kleinplatz 2006; Nordling et al. 2006) the subject of recent work on SM is disembodied from who SM participants are and what they actually do. These studies give voice to the members of a marginalized community and yield interesting phenomenological insights, but they can tell us little about SM itself or the people who engage in it. Sociologists are beginning to revisit empirical studies of SM (Plante 2006), and new research in fields as diverse as linguistics (Wilson 2005), criminology (Beckman 2001), anthropology (Weiss 2006), and religious studies (Pearson 2005) suggest that SM is beginning to emerge as an important academic issue.

Method
As Gans (1999) rails, the range of meaning currently subsumed by the term ethnography is extremely broad. In sociology, it appears to have usurped participant observationeven when participant means merely one who is present. As the claim to fieldwork generally has little in common with its anthropological ancestry, its use here must also be clarified. In July of 2002, I began over four years of fieldwork in the SM community in a Northeastern city I call Caeden. I entered the SM scene in Caeden and I participated in community life completely and fully; I became a part of its life and its and it became (much of) mine. The SM community in Caeden consists of an intimate network of relationships, and those relationships are created, manifested, and sustained and challenged in multiple places and through many different activities. The community is mainly comprised of people who are affiliated with one of two major SM organizations, one

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

627

of which is larger, older, and in many ways constitutes the heterosexual SM scene in Caeden. I joined this organization, and as such my analysis is informed more heavily by the members of this one than by the smaller, which overlaps significantly with Caedens swinger scene.6 Although membership is not required to attend either organizations functions, meetings are significantly discounted (half the cost) for members, as are play parties, club admissions, and most events. Both organizations extend these benefits to members of the other. Membership in either organization grants insider status to would-be visitors and thus sets one apart from the potentially unsafe. While there are independent community members, very few become well-established regulars without forming at least social connections with the members of one or the other organization. Privately-owned SM clubs also function as important community space. For most people in the Caeden community, SM play is not feasible at home. Clubs provide not only a place to socialize, but also adequate space, equipment, soundproofing and privacy for SM play. When I began my fieldwork, there were two SM clubs in Caeden. One closed just after I entered the scene, leaving the other as the main public play space for the Caeden community. It therefore functioned as one of the primary community spaces. Weekend nights at a club often began with dinner at a nearby restaurant, followed by six hours at the club, and then followed by another several (usually between two and five) hours of socializing over breakfast (which sometimes spilled over into lunch). Other events included informational lectures, demonstrations, and workshops, public play parties, privately hosted play parties, social lunches and dinners, organizational planning meetings, and activist fundraising benefits. These activities occurred regularly on at least three evenings during the week, which were also normally preceded or followed by dinner. I also maintained near-constant contact with community members throughout the week via email, telephone, web blogging, and instant messaging, and attended multi-day events in Caeden and other cities. During the first year I spent most waking hours in the field in one capacity or another, often reaching well over fifty hours per week during the first year of fieldwork. I wrote my field notes as immediately as possible, which sometimes meant during activities and sometimes meant a few days later (as in the case of weekend-long events). When I was unable to write copious notes for several hours, I often relied on jottings on scraps of paper and phone messages to myself to remember observations in detail. After approximately six months, I began conducting interviews. I had initially hoped to identify potential respondents by indicators of interest in SM

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

628

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

at the intellectual level. These indicators were ubiquitous; aside from claiming an interest in SM research in general, people frequently participated in discussions after such activities, posted on email discussion lists, or approached me to express interest in being a respondent. However, although I found this level of interest to be normative, it may be the case that I unwittingly repelled people who are disinclined to analyze SM and/or the community, or they unwittingly repelled me, to the extent that I did not establish enough rapport with them to be comfortable asking for an interview. Interview topics included life histories as well as SM interest, practice, and understandings. They were loosely structured; I used a content guideline to ensure thematic uniformity, but interviews were flexible and dynamic in terms of structure, off-topic conversation, and sequence. By the time of each interview, I knew my respondent well. The interview conversation flowed reciprocally, and as has been noted elsewhere (Berger 2001) I found that my own disclosure and self-reflection often enhanced the interview relationship. In a few cases, respondents were direct and specific about their interest in this mutual disclosure. In the context of these highly intimate and sexualized relationships, they shared their life histories, and we used our SM experiencecommon and uncommonto inspire reflection and discussion. I was not able to be as inclusive as I would have liked, across sexual orientation or race. Though there is considerable social overlap, the larger SM community in Caeden is comprised of a gay male SM scene, a lesbian SM scene, and a pansexual scene, and it was in the latter that I spent nearly all of my time. Additionally, people of color are so rare in the community that if my interview sample were racially diverse, I could not disclose this and still protect their privacy. I was, however, able to be inclusive across genders and SM identities. In total, I conducted twenty ethnographic-thematic interviews by the end of my fieldwork period in September of 2006. The shortest interview lasted four hours, and the longest lasted eleven, with an overall average length of over six-and-a-half hours per interview. Interviews were tape-recorded, and I transcribed them verbatim, with the occasional exception of a bracketed description of an extremely lengthy and off-topic digression. In all excerpts here, ellipses indicate pauses in the respondents speech, and bracketed ellipses indicate editorial omission. I have omitted idiosyncratic utterances such as uhs and ums. Field notes, interview transcripts and my field journals were coded using qualitative software (Atlas.ti), broadly and for discursive and conceptual themes, and recoded as themes emerged and my analysis developed.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

629

Caeden is a tightly-knit community with a strong activist component. Because its members are interested in all representations of SM, they are likely to read what is written about them and recognize one another in the narrative sections. Therefore, in addition to the standard protection of changing proper nouns, I have ensured that the pseudonyms of community members are not consistent between narratives and interview excerpts (i.e. a John who appears in a narrative, having been seen in that situation by other community members, is not a John if I refer to him as a respondent). Similarly, while physical descriptions in the narrative passages are true in my view, potentially identifying information (ages, dates, etc.) in regard to interview excerpts have been changed.

The Community as Subject


It was the last meeting; tomorrow was the big event. We had rented three floors of a large hotel. One floor was going to be devoted to educational classes throughout the weekend. One floor was going to be devoted to vendors of SM and fetish products, and one floor was to be the dungeon. It was being designed and set up by a man who owned an SM club in another city. I had heard very good things about him. It had taken seven months of almost-weekly meetings, several hours each. And the IMs and the e-mails. God, the e-mails. Seven months of general snippiness and petty arguments, of me trying not to tell everyone to please just stop acting like the rise and fall of civilization was entirely wrapped up in this event. The communication was abominable. Why is everyone so damned snotty? And why doesnt anyone else seem to notice? Its really okay with them that they talk to people like this? All of it drove me crazy. The drama. The tension. The body odor at all the meetings. I hated it. Frustrated, I looked around the room. Maggie is cross-eyed and her hair looks as if she never washes it. Robert weighs over 350 pounds, and Dottie is a 64 woman who weighs nearly as much. Jacob has a severe overbite, and twenty-seven-year old Malcolm is 51. Stuart cuts off the sleeves of his t-shirtsso that theyre what we once called muscle shirtsand wears the collar of his jacket turned up. Harold rocks back and forth when he talks, and Trey talks with his eyes closed much of the time. I started to sigh, but I half-laughed mid-way through. I couldnt help myself. It was fun to be a part of something so big. This was a nationally publicized SM event, the first for the organization in several years. I loved the planning

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

630

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

and the troubleshooting and the pulling it off, with this group of volunteers who found this important enough to pour such tremendous effort and passion into. The event ran from Thursday though Sunday. I was sharing a room with Stuart, Liam, and Phyllis. Faye was going to spend a night on our floor. Thursday and Friday I ran around like a maniac, sleeping for a couple of hours here and there in the entire two days. Id hoped to make up for it on Saturday morning, but Liam got up for the day just after Stuart and I returned to the room to sleep. Liam had a collar and cuffs of chain around his wrists and neckhed worn them even to bed. As he bustled about at 5am, the incredibly loud clink-clank, clink-clank was unavoidable. The rest of us sniped and groaned. I think someone threw a pillow at him. He refused to take them off. They meant a lot to him, he kept saying. Stuart somehow managed to fall asleep despite the clink-clank, clink-clank and Liams chatter about how honored he was to be wearing his collar. I lay awake until he clinked-clanked his honored self out of the room. The whole thing drove me absolutely nuts.

Members of the Caeden community deviate from the norm in ways that would appear to have nothing to do with SM, and two particular characteristics are immediately apparent. The first is obesity,7 which, notable both in ubiquity and in degree, was admittedly the first thing I noticed when I entered the scene. The second might best be described as a type of gender nonconformity, but this connotes a deliberateness in regard to gender presentation, with which I am neither charging nor crediting the people in Caeden. Instead, it appears as the absence of either aspirations or traits necessary to conform to conventional gender standardsan incidental androgyny, as it wererather than a gender-bending effort or sex-role ambivalence.8 This nonconformity is immediately and physically evident as the absence of markers of femininity and masculinity. Neither butch nor femme, these (usually heterosexual) men and women do not follow nor overturn the rules of gender presentation. They simply live outside of them. For these and other reasons, my respondents almost without exception described themselves as outsiders, as different from the norm, as not belonging anywhereoften even prior to their identification of their SM interest or their membership in the SM community. Time and again, they couched their understandings of their social world in terms of these outsider experiences. Occasionally, this involved a feeling of victimization or

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

631

persecution, but most often, they conveyed merely the sense of living on the periphery of normative social interaction. More than half of my respondents had been either advanced at least one grade in childhood or placed in gifted classes, which contributed significantly to their feelings of outsiderness. Eight (of twenty) had nuclearfamily profiles that contributed to their sense of being outsidemost commonly, a parent with addiction, bipolar disorder or depression, or a sibling with a developmental disorder. Five of my respondents disclosed either physical or sexual abuse, and six had experienced the death of a parent at a young age. Of the twenty people who participated in formal interviews with me, only one did not share at least one of the above characteristics, and this constructed a narrative of outsider experience around a different source.9 Despite these shared characteristics, not everyone claimed a sense of marginality because of them. Goffmans definition of stigma as the situation of the individual who is disqualified from full social acceptance (1963) focuses on the social reality of the disqualification, and judges neither stigma nor social acceptance. The application of this definition is trickier; a discussion of the situation of the individual, ought to involve the experience of the individual; hence John Manzos (2004) recommendation that stigma should be real for participants as well; it should constitute part of their own ethnomethods, and not only those of sociologists, before stigma can be analyzed objectively, maligned, prevented, or cured (p. 414). It is perhaps more important, then, that in addition to membership in categories which might lead one to impose the category of stigma onto the lives of my respondents, marginality was a central theme in their narratives. Responses to very general questions such as What was your childhood like? or the more casual So you were born. . . . were structured around experiences and evidence of outsiderness. Sometimes interviews began with scene-related topics and I asked for life stories later; in these cases narratives also flowed from the sense of having felt on the fringe throughout their lives. Attributions of marginality to geekiness and intelligence pepper the casual conversation in the scene. The narratives of my respondents are replete with stories of living lives in overweight bodies and with incidentally androgynous presentations. For many of the members in the scene, their disqualification from full social acceptance is understood as being related to qualities other than SM interest. Prior to joining the SM scene, and often prior to the realization of an interest in SM, the people in the SM

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

632

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

community were not, by and large, strangers to stigma. If the word itself was not mentioned in the life stories of community members, the awareness of differenceand unfavorable difference at thatalmost always was. These outsider experiences were universal among my respondents, and nearly all had at least one source of marginal experience in common. It is perhaps not uncommon for people to feel like outsiders at one time or another, but the stigma experience here is more profound. Distinct in scope from typical adolescent angst by obesity and severe social awkwardness, many people in Caeden did not merely feel like outsiders at an awkward point in their lives; they were outsiders throughout their lives. Emerging from their pre-adolescent years without corrections to their geekiness and incidental androgyny, they were outsiders, and they remain outsiders as adultsquite apart, at least it would seem, from their interest in SM. Seth is thirty years old and had been in the scene for two years. Acutely aware of a loneliness that came from feeling like an outsider in all other social situations, Seths decision to join the SM community was fueled, consciously, by a desire to join a community.
In high school I was a total loser. I struggled a lot with my sense of not being particularly attractive, not really knowing how to deal with people on a human basis. I was like . . . I spent my teenage years being the guy at [The Playroom] who cant talk to anybody . . . . Except on an intellectual basis, I really found no way to breach the subject of relationships or even friendships with women. I had a very hard time accepting that anybody would want to, you know, interact with me. It was veryvery lonely. It really was.

A longtime science-fiction fan seeking a community, Seth attended a science-fiction/fantasy convention when he was in his late twenties. It was there that he first became aware of the social possibilities of SM. The convention program included a stage show with whips, chains, and leather. It was a turning point for Seth, who said he now had a place to go. Newly anchored in the SM scene, Seth found an identity, a space for socializing, and new material for intellectual exploration. When asked what BDSMthe activity itselfmeant to him, his response focused not on SM itself, but on the community:
BDSM is home. BDSM is being amongst people who stroke each others hair. Give each other backrubs. I think its inherent in the BDSM community, a willingness to be more open about contact . . . . Its the place where Ive really felt the opportunity to be myself, the person Ive been my whole life, amongst people who understand the nature of freaks and geeks.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

633

An understanding of the SM community as home is not unique to Seth. Reflections like Seths abound; the how-I-found-the-scene narrative is all but obligatory in certain types of presentations and in particular venues. During both casual and public conversations about the scene, the reference to having found a home is strikingly common. This metaphor is carried across degrees of presence in the community; absences from the scene result in homesickness and returning is like coming home. Greg, who was in his early thirties, had spent a good deal of his life creating imaginary characters for companionship. He felt that his life changed when he went to his first SM-organization meeting: October 9, 2001, and the rest is all good . . . . I had heard wonderful things about it. Discovered I liked the people. And it was just home . . . immediately. Frank went to his first SM-related meeting at nineteen years old. He had brought a friend with him who wanted to leave early, but Frank refused: I looked around and I said Im home. Given the narratives built around feeling unknown among their parents and their peers, it is not surprising that the entrance into the Caeden community feels like finding a home for many. To some, the community serves as a place to conform to the standards and expectations of those around them. To others, it serves as a place where rebels go to find new ways to rebel. Regardless, the how-I-found-the-scene stories are constructed and retold because many people view their discovery of this community as a pivotal moment in their lives. Moreover, among narratives in which an essentialist SM identity figures prominently, many are tales of finding the scene and meaning in the community, quite apart from topping and bottoming specifically. The members of this community did not come here because they felt like sadists and masochists, but because they felt they were different. It is certainly significant that this difference is bound up in their interest in SM, but it is also significant that their narratives are not constructed around sadist and masochist identities. The salience of feelings of marginalization among many people in Caeden was striking, and in this context I began to explore what I was coming to understand about SM itself. My own experiences of heightened intimacy urged me beyond the problematic and simplistic assumption that SM creates a sense of intimacy precisely because SM participants crave intimacy. The insights that emerged from traditional analysis (namely their life stories and my observations in the field), when synthesized with introspection into my own play enriched my visceral understanding of the meaning of SM and broadened my analytical focus. My engagement in play taught me that SM grants unusual and intense access to unusual and intense

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

634

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

experience. Placed against a backdrop of marginality, SM, I came to realize, creates and constitutes feelings of intimacy. The concept of intimacy much more broadly, thenhow it is created, understood and constructed, and indeed what it isemerged as a central theme in my theorizing.
It was packed, and with a lot of well-known people, a lot of serious players. Wed all heard for months about who would be there, and of course I knew the program lineup. Most of them were from elsewhere in the country, and I hadnt met them. It was intimidatingnot the crowd in front of whom I usually played. Given that, and how utterly exhausted I was, I probably wouldnt have played, except that for the first time, since we started playing a few months before, Trey asked me outright rather than just dropping bizarre hints and then dancing awkwardly around it, hoping Id bite. I knew that he was trying and that it was difficult for him, and I wanted to encourage this foray into direct communication. There was little available play space anywhere, except right in the middle of the room, on a St. Andrews cross. Dead center; there would be no avoiding the spotlight there. That gave me pause, but I had to admit that I liked the fact that I would be playing with Trey, who was well-known in the scene and widely respected for his skills as a player. Unwilling to begin in full view of well over a hundred people, I told Trey Id be facing the cross. As I was getting situated, Trey emptied his toy bag and laid out the floggers hed brought with him. I counted nine of them before I turned toward the cross. Theyre largemost about two to three feet long, with soft wide leather falls. I removed my shirt and turned toward the large wooden cross. I placed my hands on either side of me, slightly above my head. He began with Florentinetwo-handed floggingwhich I had never seen him do, and he was quick and light and agile. I really wouldnt have thought that hed be so dexterous with them. After a few minutesmaybe ten or fifteen, but Im not the best one to ask he checked in with me. I said I was fine. I was still facing the cross. The next thing I felt was an enormous thud across my back. I turned to look at him. He had taken all nine of his floggers in his hands, and hit me with them in one blow. Trey is over six feet tall and nearly 200 pounds. The floggers alone must have weighed thirty pounds. Id never felt anything like itin one sense, it felt familiar to me; it was not an uncommon stroke. But that much weight and that much force across my shoulders was a new experience.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

635

It didnt hurt at all. It did make my teeth rattle, and it felt like someone was beating me up . . . but pain doesnt describe it. And yet I felt afraid each time he was about to do it again. Kirby and Tammy were standing on the other side of the cross, directly in front of me, deliberately, and staring. Well, he was staring, wide-eyed and titillated, and she was trying not to stare, though whether this was out of politeness or feigned indifference I wasnt sure. I closed my eyes. Trey continued to hit me this way, baseball-bat style, about once every couple of seconds. The physical sensations were much more intense than anything Ive experienced. The act of absorbing the blows was all-encompassing; there was nothing else but the feeling of being hit, the weight and the warmth and the softness of the floggers, the movement of my body into the cross, my breath escaping me in sounds that felt like they had started somewhere very deep. The only thoughts that made their way through to me were about trying not to crash my face into the cross when the floggers landed . . . although at times I completely forgot about that too. At some point, about midway through the scene, Trey switched to a singletail.10 It was immediately intense; it burned and it hurt. It felt meanhot and sharp and like it was slicing my skin, or like little mini-hot irons, super fast. It fucking hurt. The singletail feels abusive in a way that the flogger did notdoes notfor me. The flogger, maybe, feels like someone is trying to hurt me, but cant . . . I can outlast them. The singletail, on the other hand, feels like someone very much can hurt me, and in a deliberate and meticulous way. At one point I slammed my palm into the cross, and was distinctly aware, all of the sudden, that my hands were free. I hit the wood again and againthree or four times, I think, hard enough that Trey had to steady the cross. I think I needed an outlet of some sortI needed to direct some of what I was feeling elsewhere . . . this was a lot of stimulation to be absorbing. I remember trying to ride the pain, just going with it, trying to make it mine in some way. I wondered if I was going to yellow11 several times . . . it kept occurring to me that maybe that was as much as I could take. Several times in the midst of all this, Trey checked in and offered me water, which I drank readily, feeling something like a boxer in between rounds. The singletailing continued for awhile, I dont know how long. Then Trey asked if I was ready to turn around. Having lost all self-consciousness, and acquired at least something akin to a desire to protect my burning back, I turned around and dropped my arms along the cross at my sides, wrapping my hands around each plank.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

636

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

I saw immediately that wed drawn an audience. About thirty people stood watching us, not close enough to distract us but close enough for them to see every action and reaction. I didnt know most of them. When our scene ended three hours after it had begun, the dungeon was closing and many of the onlookers had gone to their rooms. The ones that remained approached us to compliment us. The next morning, several others complete strangerssought me out to express appreciation for our scene, and throughout the day I overheard many accolades for Trey as well.

In the context of experiences of marginality, it is not surprising that status is an important component of the Caeden SM community. Although the paths to status are diverse, the relationship between status and ones SM play is reciprocal and formative. It is most often through play that reputations are established and risked. The pursuit of overarching status is directly related to ones desirability (based in no small part on perceptions of safety and expertise) as a player. Status in play is achieved and accorded differentially depending on the SM position in any given scene; topping and bottoming provide and require different skill sets and desired traits. Additionally, status may differ by kind of play, those whose SM activities require more training, skill and practice often enjoying a higher status than those whose play does not. The secondary and closely related path to a high status in Caeden is social involvement, such as being assigned to more visible volunteer responsibilities (hosting parties, taking tickets, etc.), being recommended as a play partner, and being introduced to higher-status community members. Political activism and appearance on event calendars are indicators of high status, as well as means to higher status achievement. The dual status paths of play and involvement inform and reinforce one another. People become better known by volunteering and thus increase their opportunities for play, and those who establish reputations as players are recruited to present on relevant topics or teach classes and workshops. Generally, people in the scene are very sensitive to, and generous regarding, issues of status; speaking very highly of people who deserve it can seem all but obligatory. Name-dropping is a common practice, and in fact this reinforcement of good reputations is considered good etiquette rather than poor taste. For example, although I did not ask questions about other members of the scene in my interviews, it was quite common for respondents to positively reference people well-known in the scene, with little provocation (i.e. I mean, look at someone like Trey, who is just amazing

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

637

with a singletail). Negative comments about people in the scene were far rarer and usually necessitated a good deal of justification. I had spent a good deal of time thinking about status throughout my fieldwork. I had enjoyed a particular kind of high status on entry into the scene; my research made me interesting, and, after the initial skepticism faded, an ally. I was younger and smaller than most community members, and the choices I made regarding the kinds of play in which I wouldand would notengage also brought me a higher status (though that was unintended and unforeseen). I had watched the way status was achieved, cultivated, lost, and maintained in Caeden, but I was unable to more fully understand its importance until the scene described above. The crowd that Trey and I drew had multiple impacts. The presence of a large audience, in a venue filled with nationally high-status SM players, publicly declared that our scene was of interest. In so doing, it validated our current status, but also promised an increase; as long as the scene continued to go well, we were each nearly guaranteed a higher status. While I had been cognizant of the various incentives in the community for everyone to play hard, well, and with high-status players, I had taken the ability to do so for granted. I did not comprehend the magnitude, for many members of this community, of commanding positive attention and appreciation, in a public and sexual context. Although I was not unaccustomed to sexual attention or feelings of desirability, I was unaccustomed to being admired for bottomingfor the pain that I could take. The recognition of, and introspection about, my own quest for status in the scene allowed me to better understand the different paths to status possible in SM, as well as the power of the drives to achieve it. Once again it became clear to me that there were things I would only understand by placing my body at the forefront of not only my research, but also of my analysis. I had understood outsider status as an abstraction and empathetically. I was beginning to understand SM intellectually. But it was the conflation of what they said with what I felt, that most helped to bridge the gap for me between the lives of the members of this community and an understanding of what it is that they do.

Becoming a Sadomasochist: Synthesis and Integration


In the Caeden SM community, there is a contradiction between an essentialist understanding of SM identity, and a paradigm in which SM is a catalyst for personal growth and concurrent and subsequent identity changes,

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

638

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

as captured in the community catchphrase SM is a journey. The tenets of both of these beliefs are produced and reproduced discursively all the time, and the paradox is unproblematic for community members. Rather than function to reconcile these tensions, the community serves as a place where the contradiction flourishes. The socialization into the Caeden community is formal. The foremost SM organization in Caeden hosts a weekly meeting just for newcomers to the scene. These meetings provide demonstrations of SM techniques, lessons on etiquette and safety, and discussions of the importance and definitions of consent. The group also organizes a monthly outing during which newcomers may attend the local SM club together, escorted by the veteran facilitators of the group. For newcomers, attendance at these events is widely encouraged, and it is generally a faster track to higher status through social networking and play opportunities. Among more veteran members, the essentialist myth is frequently reinforced through community scripts, despite the understanding of SM as an open-ended journey. After my first month in the scene, I had already lost count of the number of times I witnessed a playful chastisement of non-SM behavior based on ones SM identity: Hey, stop interrupting me; I thought you were a submissive! or Thats not very domly of me, I know. During any given night, at any type of event, these markers continually set the parameters for appropriate social behavior based on ones SM identity. A submissive woman I knew frequently and publicly called herself a kitchen dom, thereby forgiving herself her self-assertions in that particular realm. Of much concern among some members of the community is a phenomenon known as topping from the bottom, a pejorative reference to bottoms who do not relinquish control of their scenes. This mechanism serves to preserve the illusion that bottoms are ultimately powerless. Given this aspiration, as a feminist I entered the field with some suspicion and defensiveness, and this extended to my SM play. However, my determination to bottom on my own terms disintegrated as time passed. Several factors likely contributed to this. As I learned what the scene was and was not, I became less suspicious of SM and less defensive of my decision to bottom, and therefore less determined to maintain strategic control. As my project began to take shape, I became less concerned with questions of misogyny and real power. As my ties to community members grew strongerand more intimateI became more emotionally generous in scene and more invested in the experiences of my play partners. Another important consideration is that my partners changed, and while my play relationships were not neatly sequential, there was a general chronological

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

639

pattern, and this had an effect. It is possible that the changes in my approach to bottoming had less to do with bottoming than to the specific interactions and dynamics with particular play partners. While all of these things contributed to the changes I experienced, it is difficult to ignore an alternative argument. As my time in the field increased, I became more cooperative during playmore malleable, more docile. Immersed in a community in which I had explicit permission to absolve myself of accountability of my own decisions, I began to do so. My own boundariesbetween active and passive, candor and coyness, adult and child, and indeed masculine and feminine were becoming blurry not only when I played, but also when I wrote about my scenes. Over time, the voice in my notes changed, revealing an increasing malleability in my behavior and in my perspective. After analysis, it was clear that I had begun to strategize my communication in scene. Despite my original commitment to what I thought of as feminist (egalitarian) bottoming, I was, quite unreflectively, devoting time and energy to figuring out how to obtain what I wanted covertly, without jeopardizing the power performance. The narrative in the previous section, which occurred after a year in the field, provides an example. When I analyzed my notes, I was struck by the line I wondered if I was going to yellow. Earlier notes spoke of my decision-making process regarding safewording, but here I had written that I wonderedas if it were an event outside of my control. Perhaps this is best understood as the quest for status; though in Caeden there is no shame in safewording, there is still glory in endurance. Or perhaps while I was playing I was considering yellowing, but when I wrote my notes a few days later, I wrote them in the romanticism of the community, preserving the illusion that I would only have ended the scene if I had to.12 In either case, this marked a change in my own perspective on bottoming, a change shaped at least in part by my socialization into the community and into play. In extending the subjective gaze beyond my feelings about play to my own representations of it, I assume that I can understand something about SM by understanding how I responded to it. I further assume that how one is responding in the field may not be immediately apparent. By asking the question How did I get here? I use not only my carnal experience as the tool for visceral understanding, but also my psychology, my emotions and my ideologies. The analysis of the changes in my own voice as I progressed in the field illuminates explicit and implicit socialization processes in Caeden, and problematizes essentialist conceptualizations of sadomasochism itself, suggesting that one can indeed learn to become a sadomasochist.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

640

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

Conclusion: Toward an Integrated Ethnography


Critics of postmodernist and autoethnography fail to recognize one of the most valuable aspects of subjectivity: if we treat ourselves as products of our cultures, our interactions and our ethnographic research, then the question of why we might feel the way we do in the field ought not to be ignored. When ethnographically introspective questions such as Why did I respond this way? How did I come to feel this way here? are informed by the social and cultural context of the field, the life stories of the informants and the rituals of the community, these answers have the potential to greatly enrich ethnographic understanding. Far more than self-awareness and introspection, systematic or otherwise, the study of my own emotions and meaning-making during SM play provided a depth of understanding when my efforts to analyze my fieldwork experience objectively were frustrated. What I offer here is not merely communication of my subjective experience, but an analysis of it. They are, for me, means to a larger end of understanding something about constructions of pain, pleasure, about sexuality and the erotic, about paradox and power. Despite its apparent messiness (Ellis and Bocher 2006), then, this analysis of my introspection (what might be best described as a supraspective approach) rests on the very paradigm to which Ellis and Bochner object. If they are correct when they argue that if you turn a story told into a story analyzed . . . you sacrifice the story at the altar of traditional sociological rigor (p. 440) then I am prepared to sacrifice my stories. But I disagree that this renders my work aloof, as they contend; it is passionate, highly personal, deeply introspective and it seeks to better understand a particular social phenomenon. Ethnographic analysis can call forth rawness and contemplation, enlightenment and tearsboth thought and feelings. Ellis and Bochners concession that good analysis can be evocative (2006) is understated; good ethnographic analysis is evocative. As ethnographers, we can simultaneously own both analytic and interpretive approaches, contextualizing our subjectivity in the histories and narratives of the members of the communities we seek to understand.

Notes
1. Following consideration that is beyond the scope of this paper, I am comfortable using the traditional SM rather than the newer term BDSM (Bondage/Discipline/Dominance/ Submission/Sadism/Masochism) to refer to the public scene, as well as to all activities subsumed under itthat is, those that involve the consensual and conscious use of: pain, power, and/or perceptions of pain or power for mutual enjoyment.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

641

2. All proper nouns have been changed. 3. For (different) sets of criteria for autoethnography, see Anderson 2006b and Ellis and Bochner 2006. 4. Thuddy is the word most commonly used in the scene to describe this kind of sensation. 5. For a thorough review of current sociological literature on SM, see Weinberg 2006. 6. The swinger scene is an alternative sexual community of mostly-heterosexual couples who swap partners for otherwise conventional sexual activity. 7. I wish to thank Carla Pfeiffer for encouraging me to consider using the less medicalized term fatness here. Her comments inspired valuable thought, after which I opted not to impose an activist perspective on the members of this community, as I suspect many would find the term fat more, not less, objectionable. 8. This is not to suggest that deliberate and political gender-bending is absent from the scene; conscious challenges to gender, including transgendered and transsexual identities, are also part of this community. The gender outsiderness described here, however, applies mainly to heterosexual people who do not identify as gender activists. 9. This respondents outsider status is quite clear from his/her life story, but confidentiality concerns preclude disclosure of the source of outsiderness. 10. A singletail is a braided leather whip with a stiff handle and one tail. It is usually between four and eight feet long. 11. The community-wide safewords are based on traffic-light symbolism. Yellow is the indication that a player wants the scene to slow down or ease up, without coming to a stop. 12. Still another possibility is that I really believed I was placing handing ownership of my actions to Trey. Though a satisfying exploration of this is beyond the scope of this paper, I do not believe this to be the case.

References
Anderson, L. 1999. The open road to ethnographys future. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 28 (5): 451-59. . 2006a. Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (4): 373-95. . 2006b. On apples, oranges and autopsies: A response to commentators. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (4): 450-65. Beckman, A. 2001. Deconstructing myths: The social construction of sadomasochism versus subjugated knowledges of practitioners of consensual SM. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 8 (2): 66-95. Berger, L. 2001. Inside out: Narrative autoethnography as a path toward rapport. Qualitative Inquiry 7 (4): 504-18. Burnier, D. 2006. Encounters with the self in social science research: A political scientist looks at autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (427-429): 410-18. Cross, P., and K. Matheson. 2006. Understanding sadomasochism: An empirical examination of four perspectives. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 133-66. Dancer, P., P. Kleinplatz, and C. Moser. 2006. 24/7 SM slavery. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 81-101. Denzin, N. 1995. The experiential text and the limits of visual understanding. Educational Theory 45 (1): 7-18.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

642

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

. 1997. Interpretative ethnography: Ethnographic practices for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. . 2006. Analytic autoethnography, or deja vu all over again. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (4): 419-28. Ellis, C. and A. Bochner. 2006. Analyzing analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (4): 429-49. Frank, K. 2000. The management of hunger: Using fiction in writing anthropology. Qualitative Inquiry 6 (4): 474-88. . 2002. G-strings and sympathy: Strip club regulars and male desire. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Gans, H. 1999. Participant observation in the era of ethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 28 (5): 540-48. Geertz, C. 1995. After the fact: Two countries, four decades, one anthropologist. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Goffman, E. 1963. Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Jarvie, I. 1988. Comment on Sangrens Rhetoric and the authority of ethnography. Current Anthropology 29:427-29. Kamel, G. W. Levi. 1980. Leathersex: Meaningful aspects of gay sadomasochism. Deviant Behaviour 1:171-91. Kleinplatz, P. 2006. 24/7 SM slavery. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 325-48. Krafft-Ebbing, R. von. 1965 [1886]. Psychopathia sexualis. Edited by Franklin S. Klaf. London: Staples Press. Langdridge, D. 2006. Voices from the margins: Sadomasochism and sexual citizenship. Citizenship Studies 10 (4): 373-89. Langdridge, D., and T. Butt. 2004. A hermeneutic phenomenological investigation of the construction of sadomasochistic identities. Sexualities 7 (1): 31-53. . 2005. The erotic construction of power exchange. Journal of Constructivist Psychology 18:65-73. Lerum, K. 2001. Subjects of desire: Academic armor, intimate ethnography, and the production of critical knowledge. Qualitative Inquiry 7 (4): 466-83. Linden, R. R., D. R. Pagano, D. E. H. Russell, S. L. Star, eds. 1982. Against sadomasochism: A radical feminist analysis. East Palo Alto, CA: Frog in the Well. Manzo, J. 2004. On the sociology and social organization of stigma: Some ethnomethodological insights. Human Studies 27:401-16. Masfield, N. 1997. Masochism: The art of power. Westport: Praeger. Moser, C. 1998. S/M (sadomasochistic) interactions in semi-public settings. Journal of Homosexuality 36 (2): 19-29. Moser, C., and J. J. Madeson. 1996. Bound to be free: The SM experience. New York: Continuum. Nordling, N., K. N. Sandbabba, S. Pella, and L. Alison. 2006. Differences and similarities between gay and straight individuals involved in the sadomasochistic subculture. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 41-57. Pearson, J. 2005. Inappropriate sexuality? Sex, magic, S/M and Wicca. Theology and Sexuality 11 (2): 31-42. Plante, R. 2006. Sexual spanking, the self, and the construction of deviance. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 59-79.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Newmahr / Becoming a Sadomasochist

643

Plummer, K. 1995. Telling sexual stories: Power, change and social worlds. London: Routledge. Rinehart, R. 1998. Fictional methods in ethnography: Believability, specks of glass and Chekhov. Qualitative Inquiry 47 (2): 200-24. Ronai, C. R. 1995. Multiple reflections of child sex abuse. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 23 (4): 395-426. Ryang, S. 2000. Ethnography or self-cultural anthropology? Reflections on writing about ourselves. Dialectical Anthropology 25:297-320. Sacher-Masoch, L. von. [1870] 1989. Venus in furs. New York: Blast Books. Sade, Donatien-Alphonse Francois. 1965. The Complete Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom and Other Writings. New York: Grove. . 1966. The one hundred and twenty days of Sodom and other writings. Edited by A. Wainhouse and S. Wainhouse, Richard. New York: Grove. SAMOIS (Organization). 1982. Coming to power: Writings and graphics on lesbian S/M, 3rd ed. Boston: Alyson Publications. Scott, G. G. 1983. Erotic power: An exploration of dominance and submission. New Jersey: Citadel Press. Taylor, G. W. 1997. The discursive construction and regulation of dissident sexualities: The case of SM. In Body talk: The material and discursive regulation of sexuality, madness and reproduction, edited by J. M. Ussher. London: Routledge. Taylor, G. W., and J. M. Ussher. 2001. Making sense of S&M: A discourse analytic account. Sexualities 4 (3): 293-314. Van Maanen, J. 1995. Representation in ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Weinberg, Thomas S. 1978. Sadism and masochism: Sociological perspectives. The Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 6:284-95. . 2006. Sadomasochism and the social sciences: A review of the sociological and social psychological literature. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2): 17-40. Weinberg, T., and G. Falk. 1980. The social organisation of sadism and masochism. Deviant Behavior 1:379-93. Weiss, M. D. 2006. Mainstreaming kink: The politics of BDSM representation in U.S. popular media. Journal of Homosexuality 50 (2/3): 103-32. Wilson, A. 2005. German dominatrices choices of working names as reflections of selfconstructed social identity. Sexuality and Culture 9 (2) Spring: 31-41.

Staci Newmahr is a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Queens CollegeCUNY. She is interested in methodological and epistemological issues in ethnographic research. Her primary substantive interests include gender, sexuality, symbolic interaction, and deviance. Her current work on sadomasochistic play focuses on the social construction of intimacy through boundary transgression.

Downloaded from jce.sagepub.com at WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIV on May 1, 2012

Оценить