- Purchase/rental options available:
This article explores the link between Foucault’s (1991) governmentality theory, specifically as it relates to gay men’s sexual practices and perceptions of HIV risk. Foucault’s (1991) theory of governmentality elucidates the means through which individual behaviours and norms (at a micro level) are governed through the production of disciplinary norms and structures that are instantiated at a broader structural and institutional level (the macro-level). Foucauldian theoretical conversations pertaining to what is meant by conceptions and definitions of HIV/STI risk are furthered through this paper’s theoretical contributions as they relate to gay men. From a Foucauldian perspective, we assess how gay men may alter or monitor their sexual practices through governmental scripts produced at a state level and manifested through micro- and macro-level behavioural and ideological shifts based on dominant socio-sexual norms. A model of the interrelationship between governmentality, scripting, the micro/macro levels, and the situation-specific is presented for future consideration when examining gay men’s sexual practices. Historical oppression and segregation of gay men are considered when exploring these theories from a critical social scientific lens.