Modern Homosexualities: Fragments of Lesbian and Gay by Ken Plummer

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By Ken Plummer

This ebook of 19 unique essays by way of activists and teachers files and analyses the dramatic alterations in lesbian and homosexual event over the past 20 years. It charts the expansion of lesbian and homosexual experiences, and examines key concerns round communitites, identities, relationships, sexualities and politics. those essays, edited by way of a number one writer within the box, bring in a brand new self assurance and adulthood for the becoming box of lesbian and homosexual reports.

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Processes are at work which recognize difference, relativities, changes: potential chaos yet enormous possibility. With these come the radical options for diverse and diffuse sexualities—the divorce from traditional religions, traditional family structures, traditional communities, traditional politics, traditional limited and restricted communication channels. The workings of modern homosexualities seem largely congruent with the contradictions of modernist culture, on the one hand displaying an obsessive uniformity in its organization and on the other displaying in its flux that ‘all that is solid melts into air’ (Berman 1982).

Since this conventional family is usually the embodiment of heterosexist practices our enemies have a point. But, and this is crucial, the ideology of the ideal nuclear heterosexual family is not the same as the myriad of ways of living together that are an increasing feature of late modern societies. The happy little nuclear family—of Judy Garland in Meet Me in St Louis—is largely a myth of the past. Today the stories are different. Not only do very few people indeed live the full cycle of their lives inside such families, there is mounting evidence that life within families may bring much unhappiness: spouse battering, child abuse, marital rape, and breakdown are simply signs that the family is often not ‘the haven in a heartless world’ it was once thought to be: it may indeed be quite the opposite.

It feeds into a radical re-visioning, a task already started by the new Queer Theorists (De Lauretis 1991). At the same time, some of the dangers of all this must be noted. Postmodernism can become massively self-contradictory—there are no grand narratives except, presumably, the one of postmodernism. It can be politically paralysing—since there is no grand goal and no chance of progress, what’s the point of a political struggle? But to recognize the furthest excesses of postmodernist indulgence is not to fail to recognize that we are on the verge of a rapidly shifting social order: one in which the search for any grand truth—essences, universals, foundational philosophies, master narratives, dominant ideologies (call them what you will)—must give way to radical doubt; to contingency and irony; to fragments, multiplicities, diversities, complexities.

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