SOCIOL 135 Lecture 1: Sept. 10, 2014 - Queer Theory Meets Sociology

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Jill A.Bakehorn

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Queer Theory Meets Sociology Wednesday, September 10 2014 1. History of sociological research and theory on sexuality 2. Queer Theory SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF SEXUALITY History and etiology of homosexuality Empirical and ethnographic studies of gay subcultures, social spaces, and communities o Focuses studies on areas and identities that sociologists have neglectedignored in the past Uncritical of sexual categories Reinforcement of deviant status o Reinforced the sexual hierarchies Questioning the category of homosexual o Forced sociologists to question the identities and what they really mean Move away from sexual orientation to sexual identity, which is a much more unstable way of thinking about sexuality o Orientation has an essentialist implication These studies were greatly influenced by feminism feminist critiques o How power is deployed through our ideas about sexuality o Reinforces not only normative sexuality, but normative gender as well QUEER THEORY Queer theory developed in the humanities in the late 1980s and 1990s concurrent with the rise in a highly visible queer political movement Queer theory became a rallying cry for new ways of thinking and theorizing. For many, the term lesbian and gay studies did not seem inclusive enough; it did not encapsulate the ambivalence toward sexual categorization which many lesbiangay scholars felt (Stein and Plummer, 181) Reclamation of pejorative term reverse affirmation o To take away the power of a word to marginalize people o Take the negative power away and reconstitute it to make it positive Recognition of sexual power enforced through binary constructions of sexuality
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