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Brunel Centre for Social and Political Thought

“The Art of Government: Perspectives in Social and Political Thought”

Workshop: Beyond Homonormativity? Reconsidering Queer Emancipation

Friday 16th January 2015, 2-6pm, MRJD118, Brunel University, London

Lisa Duggan’s analysis of “the new homonormativity … a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them” stress the problem of western, mostly white, “middle class”, urban, lesbian and gay formations’ political aspirations toward acceptance within contemporary neoliberal economic and political systems. These aspirations factually discard earlier GLBT commitments to economic redistribution, liberation and emancipation in the 1970s. Some examples include claims for normative domestic kinship arrangements relying on neoliberal philosophies of privacy, United States and European exceptionalism and homonationalism marginalizing racialized formations, and the concomitant embracing and promotion of models of gay globalization and formal cultural identity that exclude non-normative sexualities.

This workshop asks participants to think about homonormativity as an occasion to go beyond the simple, although necessary, critiques of sexual formations’ reactionary politics and to reflect on positive alternatives of strategies and politics from queer political formations’ experiences and needs.

Does the accent on discourse, norms, identities and individuality, on which the concept of homonormativity mostly relies, obscure wider structural, historical and ideological causes of the contemporary depoliticization and normalization of gay and lesbian formations, or it is a way to highlight the threat of domestication and of foreclosing of radical and outlaw possibilities of queer?

Can a critical analysis of non-Western and non-white sexual and gender diversity and categorizations contribute to a better understanding and critique of the individualistic and liberal conception of Western and colonial sexual epistemology? Can inputs from Marxism on the relationship between commodification, consumption and culture and recognition of actual queer commons in every day life contribute to a theorization of queer ethics that could disentangle the liberal ideology of private/public divide in the interests of new queer and sexual politics? Are there actually existing alternative sexual practices and ethics and queer anti-capitalist politics that could open up a perspective on emancipation?

The workshop will highlight and showcase these and other connected questions from different but interrelated political, methodological and theoretical approaches.



Gavin Brown, University of Leicester

Gianfranco Rebucini, Brunel University, London

Paul Reynolds, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk

Leticia Sabsay, London School of Economics and Political Science


Organised by Gianfranco Rebucini, Braudel Fellow at Brunel University.

For more information, contact:




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