Roseneil (2000) 'Queer Frameworks and Queer
Tendencies: Towards an Understanding of Postmodern
Transformations of Sexuality'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 5, no. 3, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/3/roseneil.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 19/9/2000 Accepted: 8/12/2000 Published: 31/11/2000
2See Roseneil (1995) for an assessment of the state of feminist sociology, and, on changes in families and intimate life, see for example: Giddens (1992), Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995), Irwin (1999), Jamieson (1998), Seymour and Bagguley (1999), Silva and Smart (1999), Smart and Neale (1999) and Stacey (1996).
3Jameson (1984), Crook et al (1992), Lash and Urry (1994).
4A notable exception who has explicitly written of "postmodern sexualities" and "the postmodernization of sexuality" is Simon (1996). Plummer (1995) is concerned with shifts in the form of "sexual stories", but conceptualizes contemporary sexual stories as "late modernist" rather than "postmodern".
5In referring to the wide-range of close personal affective bonds between individuals, I prefer the term "cathexis" to the more widely used "intimacy", which I feel is better reserved for speaking of a very particular type of emotional relationship, one of mutual disclosure in which people participate as equal.
6There is a parallel here with the feminist insight that categories of gender, and gendered oppressions, extend beyond that which appears explicitly gendered.
7My gaze here rests primarily on the UK, and the examples I use to illustrate my argument are British. Similar `queer tendencies' are undoubtedly to be seen in other western, postmodernizing countries, but a discussion of these is beyond the scope of this paper.
8Texts which have come to assume foundational status within queer theory include: Sedgwick (1991), Butler (1991), de Lauretis (1991), Fuss (1991) and Warner (1991). What was going on in 1991????
9For a clear discussion of the influences of poststructuralism on queer theory see Namaste (1996).
10Fuss (1991) draws on psychoanalytic understandings of processes of alienation, splitting and identification, which produce a self and an other, an interiority and an exteriority.
11See particularly Butler (1991).
12This point is made by Seidman (1996), Stein and Plummer (1996) and Jackson (1999).
13These criticisms are made by, inter alia, Warner (1993), Seidman (1996) and Stein and Plummer (1996).
14On queering sociology, see contributors to Seidman (1996), geography, Ingram et al (1997), socio-legal studies, Stychin (1995) and international relations, Weber (1999).
15On processes of `culturalization' and the aestheticization of everyday life see Lash (1994) and Crook et al (1990).
16For instance, in developing an argument for a queer sociology, Namaste wholeheartedly embraces poststructuralism, but fails to consider the problems which sociologists might encounter in the abandonment of all vestiges of a humanist ontology. I have argued elsewhere (Roseneil, 1995) for the importance of transcending the humanist/ poststructuralist binary. See also Barrett (1991).
17See contributions to Seidman (1996).
18A recent article by Seidman et al (1999) is an exception to this.
19Structuration theory still, in my mind, offers the best solution to the agency/structure conundrum. (See Giddens, 1984).
20The terms appear to have been coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny in 1868, though there were not used in print until 1869 (homosexuality) and 1880 (heterosexuality), according to Katz (1996). See also McIntosh (1968), Plummer (1981), Weeks (1977, 1981, 1985), Katz (1983, 1995), Foucault (1981).
21For histories of marriage see Stone (1979, 1993) and Gillis (1985), and on marriage in the immediate post-war period, see Finch and Summerfield (1991) and Morgan (1991).
22See Smith Rosenberg (1975), Weeks (1985), Fadermann (1981) and Jeffreys (1985).
23See Jeffreys (1985).
24On the rise of the lesbian and gay movement see Adam (1995) and d'Emilio (1983).
25A trickle of voluntary `outings' amongst public figures, which began in Britain with Michael Cashman and Ian McKellan at the end of the 1980s in response to the passing of Section 28, had become something of a deluge by the end of the 1990s, as kd lang, Ellen de Generes, Chris Smith, Angela Eagle, and even Michael Portillo declared their homosexuality to a decreasingly surprised public.
26The research of Finch (1989) and Finch and Mason (1993) on family obligations suggests that family ties are now understood less in terms of obligations constituted by fixed ties of blood, and more in terms of negotiated commitments, which are less clearly differentiated from other relationships.
27In this acknowledgement of non-heterosexual identities and practices Giddens's work differs from that of Beck and Beck-Gernscheim whose discussion fails to acknowledge its exclusive concern with heterosexuality.
28Bech (1997, 1999) makes a similar argument.
29Watney (1988) and Fuss (1991) made early suggestions that such a process was underway..
30For this notion I owe a particular debt to Sedgwick (1994).
31Plummer is more sceptical than I am about the existence of such stories. Other examples of queer auto-critique: Bristow and Wilson (1993), Hemmings (1993), Stein (1993), Doan (1994), Bi-Academic Intervention (1997), Munt (1997), Prosser (1998), and Halberstam (1998).
32UK statistics: between 1971 and 1994 the number of divorces doubled; 37% of recent marriages are predicted to end in divorce (OPCS Marriage and Divorce Statistics, 1991).
33By 1992 31% of live births in the UK were outside marriage (Population Trends, 1993).
34In 1991 lone parent families were almost 20% of all families with dependent children (GHS, 1991).
35In 1961 this was 4%,by 1995-6 it was 13%.
36For a discussion of the importance of friendship in contemporary social relations see Roseneil (2000).
37I am hereby disagreeing with Smart who argues that `the immense verbosity around heterosexual acts has not produced the heterosexual' (Smart, 1996:228).
38See Stacey (1991) for a discussion of the relationship between Section 28 and feminist/ lesbian theories of sexuality, and Wise (2000) and Waites (2000) on recent debates about repeal of the Section.
39For instance, Company, July 1996.
40On the role of Ecstasy in breaking down social barriers within contemporary dance culture see Wright (1999) and Collin (1997).
41In London, the highly fashionable DTPM (more recently ADTPM) and Fiction identify themselves as "polysexual". Outside London Flesh in Manchester and Vague in Leeds pioneered queer clubbing in the early to mid 1990s.
42My argument here parallels Back's (1996) argument about the emergence of a new hybrid ethnicity characterized by high degrees of egalitarianism and anti-racism amongst young people through popular culture's mixing of black and white cultural codes and styles.
43See Lewis (1997) on lesbian imagery in women's magazines and Simpson (1996) on men's magazines. Also Clark's (1993) discussion of lesbians and advertising.
44For positions which interpret the cultural valorizing of the queer differently, see Hennessy (1995, 2000), Jackson (1999) and Chasin (2000).
45The notion of `sub-cultural capital' is coined by Thornton (1995) in her discussion of club cultures.
46See Witt and McCorkle (1997) and National Lesbian and Gay Task Force website for further information about recent anti-gay developments in the United States: <http://www.ngltf.org>.
47On recent debates about Section 28 see Wise (2000) and Waites (2000), and the Stonewall website (http://www.stonewall.org.uk). It should be noted that public opinion on Section 28 seems to favour repeal (NOP poll commissioned for Channel 4, December 1999) http://www.stonewall.org.uk/template.asp?Level1=2&Level2=23&UserType=1
48On homophobic bullying in schools, see Douglas et al (1998) and Duncan (1999), Mason and Palmer (1996) on queer bashing, and Snape et al (1995) on discrimination against lesbians and gay men in the UK.
49See for example Rahman and Jackson (1997) on the persistence of essentialism within lesbian and gay claims for rights.
BACK, L. (1996) New Ethnicities and Urban Culture London: Routledge.
BARRETT, M. (1991) The Politics of Truth: From Marx to Foucault Cambridge: Polity.
BAUMAN, Z. (1992) Intimations of Postmodernity London: Routledge.
BECH, H. (1997) `Real Deconstructions: The Disappearance of the Modern Homosexual and the Queer', paper presented at the 14th World Congress of Sociology, Montreal, 26 July - 1 August.
BECH, H. (1999) `After the Closet' Sexualities, Vol.2, No.3:343-349.
BECK, U. and E. Beck-Gernscheim (1995) The Normal Chaos of Love Cambridge: Polity.
BECK-GERNSCHEIM, E. (1999) `On the Way to a Post-Familial Family: From a Community of Needs to Elective Affinities' Theory, Culture and Society Vol.15, No.3-4:53-70.
BI-ACADEMIC Intervention (1997) (ed) The Bisexual Imaginery London: Cassell.
BRISTOW, J. and WILSON, A.R (eds) Activating Theory: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Politics London: Lawrence and Wishart.
BUTLER, J. (1991) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity New York: Routledge.
CHASIN, A. (2000) Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market New York: St Martin's Press.
CLARK, D. (1993) `Commodity Lesbianism', in H. Abelove, M.A. Barale and D. M. Halperin (eds) The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader New York: Routledge.
COLLIN, M. (1997) Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House London: Serpent's Tail.
CROOK, S., PAKULSKI, J and WATERS, M (1990) Postmodernization: Change in Advanced Society London: Sage.
D'EMILIO, J. (1983) Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-70 Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
DOAN, L. (1994) (ed) The Lesbian Postmodern New York: Columbia University Press.
DOUGLAS, N., WARWICK, I, KEMP, S and WHITTY, G (1998) Playing It Safe: Response of Secondary School Teachers to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Pupils, Bullying, HIV and AIDS Education and Section 28, Health and Education Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.
DUNCAN, N. Sexual Bullying: Gender Conflict in Pupil Culture, London: Routledge.
FADERMANN, L. (1981) Surpassing the Love of Men New York: William Morrow.
FINCH, J. (1989) Family Obligations and Social Change Cambridge: Polity.
FINCH, and J. MASON, J (1993) Negotiating Family Responsibilities London: Routledge.
FINCH, J. and SUMMERFIELD, P.(1991) `Social Reconstruction and the Emergence of the Companionate Marriage, 1945-59', in D. Clark (ed) Marriage, Domestic Life and Social Change London: Routledge.
FOUCAULT, M. (1981) The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction Harmondsworth: Penguin.
FUSS, D. (1991) Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories New York: Routledge.
GIDDENS, A. (1984) The Constitution of Society Cambridge: Polity.
GIDDENS, A. (1991) Modernity and Self- Identity Cambridge: Polity.
GIDDENS, A. (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies Cambridge: Polity.
GIDDENS, A. (1995) Beyond Left and Right Cambridge: Polity.
GILLIS, J. (1985) For Better, For Worse: British Marriages, 1600-present Oxford: Oxford University Press.
HALBERSTAM, J. (1998) Female Masculinity Durham, N.C: Duke University Press.
HEMMINGS, C. (1993) `Resituating the Bisexual Body', in J. Bristow and A. R.Wilson (eds) Activating Theory: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Politics London: Lawrence and Wishart.
HENNESSY, R. (1995) `Queer Visibility in Commodity Culture', in L. Nicholson and S. Seidman (eds) Social Postmodernism: Beyond Identity Politics Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
HENNESSY, R. (2000) Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism New York: Routledge.
INGRAM, G.B., BOUTHILLETTE, A and RETTER,Y (eds) (1997) Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance Seattle: Bay Press.
IRWIN, S. (1999) Conceptualising Social Change: Family, Work and the Changing Pattern of Social Reproduction CAVA Working Paper, <http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cava/research/strand1/paper7Sarah.htm>
JACKSON, S. (1999) Heterosexuality in Question London: Sage.
JAMESON, F. (1984) `Postmodernism: Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism', New Left Review 146:53-92.
JAMIESON, L. (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies Cambridge: Polity.
JEFFREYS, S. (1985) The Spinster and Her Enemies: Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930 London: Pandora.
KATZ, J. (1983) Gay/ Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary New York: Harper & Row.
KATZ, J. (1996) The Invention of Heterosexuality New York: Plume.
DE LAURETIS, T. (1991) `Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities. An Introduction', Differences, Vol. 3, No.2.
LASH, S. (1994) `Reflexivity and Its Doubles: Structure, Aesthetics, Community', in LASH, S. and URRY, J (1994) Economies of Signs and Space London: Sage.
MCINTOSH, M. (1968) `The Homosexual Role' Social Problems 16:182-92.
MASON, A. and PALMER, A (1996) Queer Bashing: A National Survey of Hate Crimes against Lesbians and Gay Men, London: Stonewall.
MORGAN, D. (1991) `Ideologies of Marriage and Family Life', in D. Clark (ed) Marriage, Domestic Life and Social Change London: Routledge.
LEWIS, R. (1997), `Looking Good: The Lesbian Gaze and Fashion Imagery', Feminist Review, 55, Spring: 92-109. NAMASTE, `The Politics of Inside/Out: Queer Theory, Poststructuralism, and a Sociological Approach to Sexuality', in S. Seidman (ed) Queer Theory/Sociology Oxford: Blackwell.
PLUMMER, K. (1981) The Making of the Modern Homosexual London: Hutchinson.
PLUMMER, K. (1995) Telling Sexual Stories Cambridge: Polity.
PROSSER, J. (1998) Second Skins: the body narratives of transsexuality New York: Columbia University Press.
RAHMAN, M. and JACKSON, S (1997) `Liberty, Equality and Sexuality: Essentialism and the Discourse of Rights', Journal of Gender Studies, 6 (2):117-29.
ROSENEIL, S. (1995) `The Coming of Age of Feminist Sociology: Some Issues of Theory and Practice for the Next Twenty Years', British Journal of Sociology Vol 26, No 2: 191-205.
ROSENEIL, S. (2000) Why We Should Care about Friends: Some Thoughts (for CAVA) about the Ethics and Practice of Friendship, <http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cava/research/strand1/paper8sasha.htm>
SEDGWICK, E. Kosofsky (1991) Epistemology of the Closet Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
SEDGWICK, KOSOFSKY, E (1994) Tendencies New York: Routledge.
SEIDMAN, S. (1996) `Introduction', in Queer Theory/Sociology Oxford: Blackwell.
SEIDMAN, S., MEEKS, C and TRASCHEN, F (1999) `Beyond the Closet? The Changing Social Meaning of Homosexuality in the United States' Sexualities Vol.2, No.1:9-34.
SEYMOUR, J. and BAGGULEY, P (1999) Relating Intimacies: Power and Resistance Basingstoke: Macmillan.
SILVA, E. B. and SMART, C (eds) (1999) The New Family? London: Sage.
SIMON, W. (1996) Postmodern Sexualities London: Routledge.
SIMPSON, M. (ed) (1996) Anti-Gay London London: Cassell.
SINFIELD, A. (1996) `Diaspora and Hybridity: Queer Identities and the Ethnicity Model' Textual Practice Vol.10, No.2:271-93.
SMART, C. (1996) `Desperately Seeking Post-Heterosexual Woman', in J. Holland and L. Adkins (eds) Sex, Sensibility and the Gendered Body Basingstoke: Macmillan.
SMART, C. and NEALE, B(1999) Family Fragments Cambridge: Polity.
SMITH-ROSENBERG, C. (1975) `The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth Century America' Signs Vol.1, No. 1:1-29.
SNAPE, D., THOMSON, K and CHETWYND, M (1995) Discrimination against Gay Men and Lesbians London: SCPR.
STACEY, J. (1996) In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the Postmodern Age Boston: Beacon Press.
STEIN, A. (1993) Sisters, Sexperts and Queers: beyond the lesbian nation New York: Plume.
STEIN, A. and PLUMMER, K (1996) `"I Can't Even Think Straight": "Queer" Theory and the Missing Sexual Revolution in Sociology', in S. Seidman (ed) Queer Theory/ Sociology Oxford: Blackwell.
STONE, L. (1979) The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 Harmondsworth: Penguin.
STYCHIN, C. (1995) Law's Desire: Sexuality and the Limits of Justice London: Routledge.
THORNTON, S. (1995) Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital Cambridge: Polity.
WAITES, M. (2000) `Homosexuality and the New Right: the legacy of the 1980s for new delineations of homophobia', Sociological Research Online, Vol. 5, No.1, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/1/waites.html>
WARNER, M. (1991) `Fear of a Queer Planet' Social Text Vol.9, No.14:3-17.
WARNER, M. (ed) (1993) Fear of a Queer Planet Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
WATNEY, S. (1988) `AIDS, "Moral Panic" Theory and Homophobia', in P. Aggleton and H. Homans (eds) Social Aspects of AIDS London: Falmer.
WEBER, C. (1999) Faking It: U.S. Hegemony in a "Post-Phallic" Era Chicago: University of Minnesota Press.
WEEKS, J. (1977) Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present London: Quartet.
WEEKS, J. (1981) Sex, Politics and Society London: Longman.
WEEKS, J. (1985) Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities London: Routledge.
WEEKS, J., DONOVAN, C and HEAPHY, B (1999) `Everyday Experiments: Narratives of Non- Heterosexual Relationships', in E. B. Silva and C. Smart (eds) The New Family? London: Sage.
WISE, S. (2000) `New Right or "Backlash"? Section 28, Moral Panic and "Promoting Homosexuality", Sociological Research Online, Vol.5, No.1, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/1/wise.html>
WITT, S. and McCORKLE, S (1997) (eds) Anti-gay Rights Westport, CN: Praeger.
WRIGHT, R.M.A (1999) The Symbolic Challenge of a New Cultural Movement: Ecstasy Use and the British Dance Scene 1988- 1998 Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, City University.