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Desiring Sameness? The Rise of a Neoliberal Politics of Normalisation

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Since the 1990s the dominant political discourse of social movements concerned with “sexual politics” has been that of seeking access into mainstream culture through demanding equal rights of citizenship. I focus on the changing politics of sexuality in the context of new forms of social governance associated with neoliberalism, central to which is professionalisation and particular forms of knowledge production. Changes in political organising, coupled with the growth in identity‐based consumption and the greater visibility of lesbians and gay men as consumer citizens, have provided a variety of opportunities for new professional careers. I discuss these developments and suggest that a key aspect of this increase in professionalisation is the construction of the gay and lesbian subject as part of a national and, in some instances, an international constituency. Finally, I consider how, in recent years, new forms of professionalisation of knowledge production about lesbians and gay men have emerged, not only in terms of political and market interests, but also in the academy.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2005


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