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The End of Queer (as we knew it): Globalization and the making of a gay-friendly South Africa

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In J. K. Gibson-Graham's The End of Capitalism (as we knew it), the authors (Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson) provocatively deploy queer theory to further their project of telling non-capitalist stories of globalization. In short, they reject the narrative that globalization is always and only penetrative in the hope that global capital will 'lose its erection' and 'other openings' in the body of capitalism can be considered. I adopt their strategy of looking at stories of globalization. But, while they are concerned with the homophobia of economic theorizing, I consider the gay-friendly discourse of post-apartheid South Africa. Recent expressions of official tolerance by various nation-states around the globe have been dismissed as the mere appropriation of difference by hegemonic forces. Against such interpretations, I look at the ways in which the inclusion of 'sexual orientation' in post-apartheid South Africa's constitutional Equality Clause can instead be read as a queer globalization. Based on this reading, I problematize the presumption that queer globalizations take place beyond the realm of the hegemonic and point to the need for queer theorists to think through the political ramifications of homosexuality's repositioning as saviour rather than scapegoat of certain nation-states.
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Keywords: Globalization; South Africa; homosexuality; post-apartheid; queer theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, National University of Singapore,

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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