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Sextures

QUERYING SEXUAL CITIZENSHIPS: DIFFERENCE, SOCIAL IMAGINARIES AND EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP 

‘Harbingers of death’, ‘the shame and ruin of humanity’, ‘anti-life’, ‘threat to the survival of the human race’, ‘moral and physical cripples’, and ‘vampires sucking the life blood of the nation’ are only some of the images of radical alterity invoked and regularly rehearsed by major political figures in post-socialist European countries when faced with native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer (LGBTQ) claims to citizenship. Citizenship, understood here as the practicing of social, cultural, political and economic rights, and the active involvement in the organized life of a political community, is still firmly tied in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe to a heteropatriarchal social imaginary in which the nation continues to be metaphorically configured as the exclusive home of the traditional heterosexual family – the purveyor of pure ethnic bloodlines based on rigid asymmetrical power system of gender relations. The conflation of heterosexism with ethnic nationalism that permeates this imaginary also fuels a vicious politics of national belonging where the use of highly inflammatory, offensive and dehumanising language has led to a dramatic increase in violence against members of various sexual minorities, which in turn has resulted in the effective silencing of queer voices in the public sphere and the paradoxical feeling that sexually different people were somehow ‘more free’ under the previous regime.The Amsterdam Treaty, a legal document attempting to define the evolving concept of European citizenship, intends to temper the current trend of hyper-nationalist integration into ‘Europe of nations’ by moving to a vision of Europe of (individual) citizens. The Treaty, particularly Article 13, clearly states that the respect for human rights and the principle of non-discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation forms the basis of 21st century European citizenship. However, many new member-states of the EU and candidate-countries blatantly and proudly flout their human rights obligations derived from their (current or future) accession into the EU and continue to devise a raft of laws and policies denying basic human and citizenship rights to lesbians, gays, transsexuals and queers, including the right to assembly and free expression.

Deep historical distrust in identity based organizations and identity politics, a weak civil society, a fragile rule of law, and the ignorance about, or unpreparedness to use, the legal and political instruments of European citizenship, create a very unique set of challenges for LGBTQ people in post-socialist Europe on their road to freedom and equality. Transnational LGBTQ rights movements arising from the institutional, legal, social, political, economic and intellectual successes of the gay, lesbian and queer movements in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand become increasingly aware that a western model of sexual politics and citizenship based on political and economic (capitalist) liberalism is simply unworkable in post-socialist Europe.

Given this context, SEXTURES invites theoretical, conceptual and empirical essays from scholars of all disciplines (philosophy, women’s studies, gay and lesbian studies, Slavonic/Eastern European/ Balkan studies, cultural studies, sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, history, and comparative literatures) who are working on topics related to gender, sexuality and citizenship in post-socialist Europe.

We are particularly interested in inter- and transdisciplinary essays, critically drawing from feminist, gay and lesbian, transsexual, queer, postcolonial and critical race theories, that examine the concept of (sexual) citizenship in all its complexity; from being a social relationship inflected by intersecting sexual, gender, ethnic, national, class and religious identities; positioning across various cross-cutting social hierarchies; cultural assumptions about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ citizens and ‘humans’ and ‘aliens’; to institutional practices of active discrimination and marginalization, and a sense and politics of belonging to an imagined community like the nation or  ‘united Europe’.

We welcome thoughtful philosophical reflections on the relationship between ideology, utopia and European citizenship with a particular emphasis on the productive function of the social imaginary as understood, for example, by Deleuze and Ricoeur. In this context, we particularly encourage submissions examining the promises and limits of the concepts of ‘flexible’ or ‘nomadic’ citizenship for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and queers living in post-socialist Europe.

We are also interested in empirically grounded close examinations of actual practices of social belonging (or non-belonging) as lived by ordinary LGBTQ people in a number of everyday social situations at home, school, work, dealing with the state, etc. In this context, we welcome submissions that explore the emotional dynamic, and the cultural politics of emotions, played out in these situations.

While we focus on Central and Eastern Europe, we welcome submissions that cover issues of sexual citizenship in other parts of the world.

Submissions should be no longer than 8000 words. Please consult our guide for contributors when preparing your manuscripts. The guide can be found at http://www.sextures.net/guidelines-for-contributors. Deadline for submission of papers is 2 June 2009.

About the Journal

Sextures is a refereed international, independent, transdisciplinary electronic scholarly journal that aims to provide a forum for open intellectual debate across the arts, humanities and social sciences about all aspects affecting the intricate connections between politics, culture and sexuality primarily, but not exclusively, in the Balkans, Eastern and Central Europe. It is published in English twice a year. Sextures is dedicated to fast turnaround of submitted papers. We expect this special issue to be published in September 2009. More information about the journal can be found on its website: http://www.sexturesnet.

Please direct all inquiries regarding this special issue or send manuscripts to:


Dr Alexander Lambevski

Founding Editor and Publisher

alex@sextures.net, editor@sextures.net

http://www.sextures.net

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski