The construction of identities and adhesion to LGBTQ politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The theorizing of queer sexualities from the standpoint of contemporary Western sexual realities, identities and forms of experience has produced strongly biased analytical models, thus having seriously jeopardized the historiography of both pre-modern and modern queer sexualities, in that they have obscured the role of historical forces in shaping them. Those theoretical models not only tend to relegate to pre-modernity the subjects that do not conform to established definitions of sexual modernity, disqualifying them as archaic or residual, but they also distort, if not outright dismiss, the evolving of past forms of sexual experience into modern ones, based on the assumption that the latter simply erased and replaced the former. Drawing on the works of Foucault, Halperin, Sedgwick and Butler, the present paper draws on the “great paradigm shift” in the history of homosexuality(ies) that radically defamiliarized and denaturalized the continuous, defining essence of homosexuality, thus clearing out the path for the entire line of constructionist historiography that ensued and, namely for a non-linear sociological historiography. Once transposed to the methodological practice, they should enable a historical-sociology approach to avoid projecting onto those forms the characteristics of “homosexuality as we know it today”. Therefore, it is the present that should be denaturalized, to render less destructively presumable ‘homosexuality as we know it today’, since it is structured, not by the supersession of models, but instead by their unrationalized coexistence. Halperin converts Segdwick’s claim into a whole program of inquiry based on the recognition that the definitional incoherence of the modern notion of homosexuality stems from the incorporation of earlier models that are actually in conflict with the category of homosexuality that nonetheless has absorbed them. As a result, an entire horizon of possibilities should unfold for Historical Sociology from the destabilization of the notion of modernity as a finalized process and shed a more critical light on the linearity of emancipatory social and political changes and in the course of LGBTQ politics. In this line, this paper’s contention is that, in Latin countries for sure, and arguably in the Western world at large, the known historical forms of sexual experience, and correlative sexual categories – pederasty, sodomy, homosexuality – far from being mere defunct modes of eroticism, have lingered as structural Gestalts underlying contemporary LGBT/queer identities. Pederasty, sodomy, homosexuality, both as relevant and meaningful categories of inquiry and as forms of sexual experience, should rather be regarded as superimposed historical layers that still play a considerable role in determining either adherence and/or resistance to the construction of contemporary queer sexualities.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationSexualidade e Género [ST]
Place of PublicationLisboa
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
EventVIII Congresso Português de Sociologia – “40 Anos de Democracia(s): Progressos, Contradições e Prospetivas”, COM0583 - Área Temática: Sexualidade e Género - Mesa “6 - Género, sexualidades e desigualdades: permanências e mudanças” -
Duration: 14 Apr 201416 Apr 2014

Conference

ConferenceVIII Congresso Português de Sociologia – “40 Anos de Democracia(s): Progressos, Contradições e Prospetivas”, COM0583 - Área Temática: Sexualidade e Género - Mesa “6 - Género, sexualidades e desigualdades: permanências e mudanças”
Period14/04/1416/04/14

Keywords

  • Identities; Historical Sociology; constructionism; LGBTQ politics

Cite this

Cascais, A. F. (2015). The construction of identities and adhesion to LGBTQ politics. In Sexualidade e Género [ST] (pp. 1-12). Lisboa.