National Security as Moral Regulation ARTICLE

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22 Apr 2012

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National Security as Moral Regulation: Making the Normal and the Deviant
In the Security campaigns against gay men and lesbians - Kinsman
This chapter focuses on the moral regulation organized through the anti-homosexual national security
campaigns in the 1950s and 60s in Cold War Canada
- Moral regulation can be seen as the institutions, discourses, and practices making the normal,
and the moral; normalizing only certain ways of living
- Making the heterosexuality as the moral, national, safe, and normal sexuality while gay and
lesbian sexualities were made into the immoral, risky, and deviant
- This marking has a legacy in our historical present against lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals
During the 1950s an 60s, homosexuals lost their jobs in the public service and the military , as the RCMP
collected the names of close the 9,000 suspected lesbians and gay men by 1968
- Pressuring gay men to inform on other homosexuals , many were followed, photographed and
spied upon
- The Canadian guv even funded research into the detection of homosexuality known as the “fruit
machine” for more than four years
- To this day closeted homosexuals can be denied security clearances with the argument that they
have sometime to hide and therefore are vulnerable to blackmail and are a ‘security risk’
The moralization and normalization of sexuality
Mary Douglas argues that nothing is more transmitted by a social process of learning than sexual
behaviour and this of course is closely related to morality, normal’s, and taboos producing a natural
order around which life comes to be organized. Separating the normal from the ambiguous. Any
challenge to this boundaries by “deviant” behaviour leads to the mobilization of social fear and anxiety
Moral regulation covers a much broader terrain than that of “the sexual”, including non sexual practices
such as alcohol, drug use, gambling, and crime
The making or the moral and the immoralthe right and wrong ways to livehas its roots in absolutist
church ideologies
The new terrain of sexuality came o be defined in the 19th cent. as an essential “instinct” or drive that
defined ppls activities and began to become the “truth” of ppls beings
Forms of sexual resistance were generated by groups of people actively sexing new social spaces in
order to meet their erotic needs. The response to these forms of policing and new forms of “scientific”
knowledge was the emergence of difference and oppositional erotic cultures that would eventually be
called homosexual, gay, and lesbian
Offences in Canada were referred to a s “offences against morality” until they were moved into a new
section called “sexual offences” in the late 1950s. this moralization o the sexual continues even after
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there was a shift away from moral conservatisman approach that argues there is only one “right
sexuality that is often religiously based
if we think of struggles over the “moral” and the “normal” of the last 40 years , key to this has been
struggles over sex education; birth control, abortion, and reproductive rights; lesbian and gay rights etc
in the late 19th cent, heterosexuality was associated with the natural and healthy and pure;
homosexuality was in contrast the dangerous, the impure, the unnatural, the sick and the abnormal
we get a clear sense of the “homosexuality personality” characteristics, which are perceived to be a
problem and with Marxism and its challenge to capitalism. The challenging of erotic and social
boundaries is equated with challenging class and political boundaries
a key strategy of disciplinary power is normalization the making normal of only some practices and
way of living and the making of others as pathological, abnormal, and deviant. The pathological strategy
constructs some ways of living as physiological or mental sickness or illness. The normalization of
sexuality has involved forms of policing and criminalization as well as psychiatric, psychological, and
Harold gay man- wrote about how he was pulled from the navy, and called for the “disposal” of all ‘sex
deviates” found in the military
A 1959 Canadian Security Panel was the inter-departmental committee that co-ordinated the national
security efforts of various agencies and institutions within Canadian state formation. Homosexuals were
constructed as a security problem because of their characteristics including “weakness”, “unreliability”,
“unethically”, and “immoral”. Psychopathic personalities who were unable to tell the difference
between right or wrong or to control their sexual impulses
Critically interrogating national security
To explore the social organization of their security campaign, we use two major theories
- 1)Dorothy Smiths Marxist feminist sociological contributions of a sociology for women and the
oppressed. Sues the social and historical materialist approach developed by Marx to analysis the
examination of oppression of women and the social relations of capitalism
o National security texts as active texts used to organize the campaigns against gay men
and lesbians
- Smith alternative way of doing sociology allows us to turn the insights of ethnographic analysis
to critically interrogate the institutional relations of the national security regime from the
standpoints of queers
o Grasp the concerted activities going into the social organization of the national security
campaigns and the resistance and accommodations to it:in which the national security
are hooked up to the broader social relations of the criminalized.
o Research is based on interviews with more than 30 people who were purged,
transferred or forced into informing on others.
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