HUMPHREYS TEAROOM TRADE PDF

By pretending to be a simple voyeur, Humphreys explains that he systematically observed these activities and even recorded the license plate numbers of a sample of tearoom participants. While the systematic observation part of his study permitted an understanding of the rules and roles, patterns of collective action, and risks of the game associated with impersonal gay sex in public restrooms, his tracking down and interviewing a handful of the subjects allowed Humphreys to better understand the identity, lives, and rationality of those men involved in the so-called tearoom trade. While the author defended the ethics behind his research early on, he was still stunned by the backlash it received. In response to such issues, I will use this post to critically evaluate the strong and weak points of his book.

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By pretending to be a simple voyeur, Humphreys explains that he systematically observed these activities and even recorded the license plate numbers of a sample of tearoom participants. While the systematic observation part of his study permitted an understanding of the rules and roles, patterns of collective action, and risks of the game associated with impersonal gay sex in public restrooms, his tracking down and interviewing a handful of the subjects allowed Humphreys to better understand the identity, lives, and rationality of those men involved in the so-called tearoom trade.

While the author defended the ethics behind his research early on, he was still stunned by the backlash it received. In response to such issues, I will use this post to critically evaluate the strong and weak points of his book. Secondly, I found it interesting that Humphreys classified the participants by occupational status and marital status: trade, ambisexuals, gay, and closet queens.

I further found it intriguing for Humphreys to suggest that closet queens may be the most dangerous of the groups to society because of their attraction toward youth and because of their relative unattractiveness to adults. Thirdly, I liked that Humphreys wrote about the importance of blackmail, especially when it comes to the police. The idea that those with power and resources can trade money for silence highlights the inequality and corruption that still exist in our criminal justice system.

Among others, Babbie writes about how this study has pushed researchers to constantly hold themselves responsible for the well-being of their subjects. Still, while I liked this book, I did have a few problems with it. Firstly, I took objection to the tracking of the tearoom participants. Secondly, Humphreys contends that Americans are squeamish about things like tearoom sex because sex that is tolerated privately is not tolerated publically—that is, people in the U.

But, if consent is the main issue, then why do we continue to have a large segment of the population actively championing laws designed to limit gay sex between consenting adults? Thirdly, I am not sure if I agree with Humphreys that the tearooms of today are like the bordellos of the past. Will all sexually rapacious men who would have gone to bordellos years ago suddenly be OK with sex with other men? Lastly and relatedly , I wonder about the possible bias Humphreys may have had towards his study considering that he would later come out as a gay man.

Putting the assertions aside that he may have been sexually active in the tearooms Babbie , I am curious about how much if any of his writing was influenced by his own sexual preferences.

While there is certainly valid criticism of this work, I feel it has more strong points than weak ones. In your opinion, what are the best parts and worst parts of the work? What do you think? For Further Reading:.

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Laud Humphreys' Tearoom Trade: The Best and Worst of Sociology?

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the topic, the research was highly controversial, however this was not just due to its sensitive subject matter. A number of criticisms were made of the study on the basis of its ethically dubious research methods. While Warwick , p. Wright Mills Award for research. Following a research paper he wrote on the subject of homosexuality in Humphreys realised that very little research had taken place into the kind of people engaged in this deviant activity.

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Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex Study

Because he passed himself off as a voyeur — one who derives sexual gratification from observing the sex acts of others — he was permitted to watch acts that occurred in bathroom stalls without doors. Among other things, he gathered data on locations, the frequency of acts, the age of the men, the roles they played, and whether money changed hands. He later disclosed his role to some men he had observed and interviewed them on their daily lives. A year later, after changing his hair and attire, he interviewed these same men in their homes under the guise of conducting an anonymous public health survey.

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A Critical Analysis of Laud Humphrey’s The Tearoom Trade Essay

Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex Study Laud Humphreys, a sociologist, recognized that the public and the law-enforcement authorities hold highly simplistic stereotyped beliefs about men who commit impersonal sexual acts with one another in public restrooms. Humphreys decided that it would be of considerable social importance for society to gain more objective understanding of who these men are and what motivates them to seek quick, impersonal sexual gratification. For his Ph. He stationed himself in "tearooms" and offered to serve as "watchqueen" - the individual who keeps watch and coughs when a police car stops nearby or a stranger approaches. He played that role faithfully while observing hundreds of acts of fellatio. He was able to gain the confidence of some of the men he observed, disclose his role as scientist, and persuade them to tell him about the rest of their lives and about their motives.

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