What unfolds before us in 2013?

mental health green ribbon

Promote mental health

Following on from Jon Henley’s piece in the Guardian the NZ Herald wrote, “Mental orders in for a shake up” on the final version of the DSM V. DSM V is a document on which the B4U-Act group (B4) have been attempting to have an impact. B4 opened in Maryland, USA to address how minor-attracted persons and those in the medical services field inter-connect and impact eachother’s lives. DSM has not changed its text on how pedophilia is defined and managed (i.e., the diagnostic criteria won’t change, and the DSM positions itself as neutral regarding treatment), however what is significant may be that the category ‘pedophilia’ has not been expanded to include situations where the younger party in relationships is older than 12. There was some discussion about expanding the category adding a new one in fact, (further detail offered here on PubMed) so these older children/youths could be seen as involved in settings  medical/psychiatric interest, and here it is the older person who would be in the light and under a medical gaze.

The next issue in the media to catch my eye was the issue of free speech. Al-Jazeera published a piece titled “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on campus”. In America on some university campuses there are struggles between groups such as those who are against anti-Semitism, and those who want to high-light the issue of Palestinian rights and the abuse of their ‘constituents’ in the ongoing problems in the Middle East. Intellectually, what is learned in one area sheds new light in other spaces. Using this principle of the portability of intellectual inquiry the questions can be unpacked as: what are the free speech issues for the minor attracted; how is that unfolding 2013; and, could parallels be drawn between what happens for these free speech struggles in America and the issues that inhabit the lives of those who are minor attracted.

Finally, again with an interest in how we do our thinking, a French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour has a book being talked about on the website for the Los Angeles Review of Books‘I am what I am attached to’: On Bruno Latour’s ‘Inquiry into the Modes of Existence’. Latour is being called a new Hegel. First off, let me confess that the French philosophical culture has for a long time held a strong interest for me, Michel Foucault be the major author to shape my thinking. Secondly, Latour has an interest in questions such as, what is modernism anyway; what is the relationship between science and culture; and finally, can we speak of the term nature in a way that is different from the past. Again, adopting this principle of portability mentioned above, for the minor-attracted, especially the thoughtful members of that group, how can these questions shed new light on their lives?

As 2013 unfolds, it looks like there is plenty to think about regarding what to write next.

What’s on my mind as this week unfolds (first week in June 2012)?

There has been a media story about the deaths of two adults, one male and one female, where opening accounts included information about the man’s profile as including a sexual attraction to minors. How marked this was is certainly unclear but in my thinking I am joining this episode with another that took place in the New Zealand media in late December of 2011. Again, in this media item there was violence. The young man had sexual contact with a girl who was injured very seriously.

My thinking is about how these cases are being offered up to us in the media and does this tell us anything about ourselves both as a culture and as a society. The issue of minor attraction is certainly not a uniquely New Zealand social issue. Because I live here my interest is in the local forms this item takes, how is it managed, talked about, how it sits with us 2012.

So it is my plan to check some facts, do some thinking, and write. Come back later and what’s on offer may be of interest.