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An explosion of Thai identities: global queering and re-imagining queer theory

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This paper reflects on recent research on Thai discourses of gender and eroticism in order to problematize some of the universalist assumptions that have dominated discussion of the international proliferation of forms of erotic diversity. By mapping the proliferation of Thai gender/sex categories from the 1960s to the 1980s, the paper shows that Thai homoeroticisms are not converging towards Western models and points to the cultural limits of Foucauldian-modelled histories of sexuality. In particular, it demonstrates the inability of Foucauldian history of sexuality, and queer theoretical approaches drawing on Foucault, to account for shifts in Thai discourses in which gender and sexuality do not exist as distinct categories. Only when current feminist theories of gender and queer theories of sexuality are integrated so as to offer a unified account of the eroticization of gender, and the gendering of eroticism, will Western theoretical models be capable of mapping shifts in non-Western patterns of eroticism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2000

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