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Posted on October 1st, 2012, by

In his preface “The Word ”˜Heterosexuality’ and the Institution in 2006, Jonathan need Katz discuses the concept of heterosexuality, its origin and development. The author argues that at first he described heterosexuality in purely social terms as relationships between men and women. However, gradually he arrived to the linguistic interpretation of the concept. In such a way, he argues that the existence and creation of the concept of “heterosexuality” is impossible without wording. In other words, at first the concept is formed in the language, as certain word and then it is applied to specific situation, issues, or phenomena.

Basically, the author contributes to the better understanding of how gender-related biases are formed because he reveals the fact that the concept and its perception highly depends on its linguistic form, i.e. how the concept is perceived through language to the extent words can define the concept itself.

Obviously, the author attempts to analyze the concept of heterosexuality and its origin in depth. He attempts to understand how people understand heterosexuality and reveals that the concept itself has started to exist only after the invention of the specific word, while phenomenon could and did exist before.

However, such a view on heterosexuality is highly controversial. In fact, it is true that people need words to define certain concepts of phenomena. Nevertheless the word cannot be prior to the phenomenon itself. Moreover, the author refers to Marx, but, according to him, human conscious is form by their environment. Hence, heterosexuality as a concept derives from relationships between men and women but not form the word introduced in the language, which is just a marker which defines the real phenomenon or relationships.

Hence, there are still questions to answer: a) what is prior the real life issues, phenomena, relationships or their verbal forms? b) how can the concept of heterosexuality change in the course of time, if the word remains unchanged but social norms and relations proper change?

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