Dr Richard Yuill, who was awarded his PhD in Sociology from Glasgow University in December 2004 is a Foucauldian researcher and critical analyst known for his work on Queer Theory and Intergenerational Sexualities.
Due to Yuill's legal agreement with the University of Glasgow, his highly controversial thesis was not published until December 2009 (it is now available at the University of Glasgow Library). For this work, he gained high distinction from examiners and colleagues alike, but was nevertheless defamed in the reactionary media.
The following is the abstract to his thesis, "Male Age-Discrepant Intergenerational Sexualities and Relationships":
- This thesis examines the construction of male age-discrepant inter generational sexualities and relationships (MADIS) - primarily in the United Kingdom. It analyses the way in which such relationships have been constituted within hegemonic child sexual abuse (CSA) discourses, and how these in tum have been influenced by late modem material, social and cultural conditions. These include: the growing professionalisation of education and welfare institutions; the increasing problematisation of child and youth sexuality; and finally the popularisation of taboos on such relationships through a series of media and political campaigns. It also examines the varied ways such perspectives have been contested: ranging from liberationist claims for young people's sexual rights, to boylover identity groups stressing the positive and beneficial aspects of such relationships.
- The theoretical approach will apply Foucauldian, Bourdieusian and Queer insights on social theory, evaluating how far they can provide a critical framework for explaining how CSA has achieved dominant status in relation to MADIS. It will also examine key contested paradigms on social power and sexual subjectivity, and open up discussions as to whether late modem transformations in the intimate sphere can be incorporated within this area.
- The historical and cross-cultural components will address: the social and discursive origins of the current injunctions on MADIS; the growth of 'expert' knowledges and proliferation of highly specialised and localised centres of power around young people's sexuality and MADIS; and how these have affected the scripting of MADIS.
- It will also look at MADIS across a wide range of historical and cross-cultural case studies, focussing on the differing modes of representation, contested meanings, and the multiple ways these have been refracted through the criss-crossing interstices of gender, class, race, age and sexuality.
- The empirical element utilises qualitative, semi-structured interviews as the main tool for data collection. Questionnaires were sent out to respondents, and follow-up semistructured interviews of existing and retrospective gay MADIS were conducted. Other interviews were carried out with young gay men, male survivors, and boylovers. All the above tools were designed with the aim of exploring, and analysing the different meanings and experiences respondents articulated, in order to achieve a broader, more balanced account of MADIS. In addition, child protection, sex offender and health professionals, and religious and political figures who were recently involved in recent controversies over a range of issues (Clause 28 and the gay male age of consent), were interviewed.
- The above perspectives were analysed in relation to their impact on the contested and competing agendas on CSA and MADIS, and in explaining how certain sexual stories and narratives have achieved prominence within public and expert discourses, contributing to the subsequent marginalisation of both boylover perspectives and positively experienced accounts of MAD IS from young people.
Download and read the thesis
His thesis, very interesting reading and highly recommended for BoyLovers, may be downloaded from:
The end-notes and bibliography may be downloaded here:
Yuill's thesis tackles the range of contested positions on man-boy love from a sociological perspective. He applies both materialist and Foucauldian frameworks on late modern sexualities to the related subjects of childhood, adolescence and adult sexual attraction to children and young people. Yuill critiques both mainstream gay and "radical" feminist analyses on intergenerational sexualities for their reductionist and simplistic adoption of problematic and largely discredited "child sexual abuse" (CSA) assumptions on power, subjectivity and outcomes in such relationships. His approach provides a number of profound policy and theoretical insights on child, youth, and intergenerational sexual rights, coupled with a thoroughly comprehensive analysis of the likely direction future transformations towards wider forms of sexual citizenship and child empowerment will take.
Throughout the five years from 2000 to 2005, he faced two lengthy University Senate investigations, thefts of material from his office, a series of hysterical attacks from the Daily Mail, Guardian, News of the World, and the freelance journalist Marcello Mega. The Scottish Mail on Sunday and the Scottish edition of the News of the World tabloid published articles slating him. Yuill and Glasgow University decided to place the work on a 5-year access ban. A series of ad hominem political attacks and sensationalist media reporting by the Times Higher Education Supplement subsequently followed, with Liz Kelly, Chris Harrison, and Rachel O'Connell co-opting to provide negative and distorted commentaries on the PhD, despite having not even read it.
Radical Christian websites turned up the heat by describing Yuill as a "moral cretin".
In 2004, Yuill was attacked and libelled following an undercover investigation carried out by Ireen van Engelen. Van Engelen passed information on to the Scottish Daily Mail journalist Marcello Mega. Despite eventually failing to uncover highly sensitive information, Mega has since embarked on a campaign to discredit Yuill by referring to the fact that he once joined and visited Ipce for research purposes, as encouraged by said organisation. Mega also alleges that Yuill described himself as a "boylover" to Ipce members, a charge that if correct was likely to have been part of a standard naturalisation technique used by social researchers. The integrity of this accusation and what Mega infers from it is further called into question by his more recent comment that Yuill was discharged from teaching for "inappropriate sexual ‘horseplay’ with boys in his care". This defamatory accusation had previously led to a successful PCC report.
Other major works
Despite censorship of his work from Sociological Research Online, Sexualities, and Sociological Review, Yuill has published two Encyclopedia articles in “The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology” in 2007, and Greenwood’s “Love, Courtship and Sexuality through history, Volume 6” in 2008. He has also published a critical commentary of Diederik Janssen's "Re-Queering queer youth development: A Post-Developmental Approach to Childhood and Pedagogy" entitled "Re-scheduling child sexual trajectories” in the Journal of LGBT Youth, 2008, 5(3). Written with Dean Durber, "‘Querying’ the Limits of Queering Boys Through the Contested Discourses on Sexuality" was recently published in Sexuality & Culture. At present, Yuill is working on a book proposal and further journal articles.
- Yuill PhD Abstract
- Yuill PhD Biblio
- Answering back - Letter from Yuill to The Times Higher Education, Answering back
"3 December 2004
- When I began my PhD at Glasgow University in 1999, I appreciated that the "reality" of researching male age-discrepant/intergenerational sexualities and relationships would likely prove a hotly contested topic.
- But I did not anticipate that my mother and I would be subjected to offensive phone-calls; two lengthy Senate investigations; having sensitive material stolen from my office and passed on to a journalist; explaining my research to officers from the Serious Crime Squad; the News of the World taking a photo of me inside our house; and, finally, a series of ill-informed political attacks...."
- Matthew Taylor. Paedophilia thesis comes under fire: Doctorate could justify child sex, say abuse experts. The Guardian. 2 December 2004.
- dannywyatt. This is a couple years old, but .... BoyChat. 25 June 2006.