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The making of gay and lesbian politics

Gay and Lesbian Politics

Sexuality and the Emergence of a New Ethic

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Mark Blasius

"This important study is both an analysis of and a call to an involved politics. It opens the door to a far-reaching dialogue."
Martin Duberman, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, The City University of New York

An active participant in and theorist of the gay and lesbian movement, Mark Blasius contends that being gay or lesbian is by definition political. By extension, the phenomenon of a movement founded on collective identity is a quintessential part of American politics. The continually rising public consciousness of the needs and interest of gays and lesbians provides Blasius with a vehicle for showing how a particular aspect of human life comes to assume political dimensions. Upon this premise, he analyzes the process of how power is exercised through sexuality and traces the historical conditions that have made possible a gay and lesbian politics

Drawing on works of political philosophy, social science, including Foucault, and gay and lesbian studies, Blasius explores the invention of a gay and lesbian ethos, through which participation, even for apolitical gays and lesbians, goes beyond a shared culture and perspective. It is a way of life more encompassing than either sexual orientation or lifestyle alone. Though he acknowledges and reflects upon the divergent range of gay and lesbian experiences, Blasius provides a framework based on theories of power, sexuality, and ethics that elaborates the significance of the movement as a whole within contemporary society.

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Reviews

"It is in the process of coming out...Blasius argues, that lesbians and gay men create themselves—as new subjects, as the producers of new truth, and as agents of social change. Blasius gives a coherent account that ties together all these processes—from coming out to the emergence of lesbian and gay studies-and goes on to show the 'ethical' contribution that lesbians and gay men make to contemporary American society."
Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review

"An engaging book that intelligently explores a range of possibilities in human relations."
George Kateb, Department of Politics, Princeton University

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. The Creation of Gay and Lesbian Politics
A Historical Ontology of Politics • Power, Subjectivity, and Truth • Politics and Technologies of Government

2. A Politics of Sexuality
Poser in Modernity: Biopower • Sexuality Becomes a Political Issue • Sexuality: A Technology of Government • The Lesbian and Gay Politics of Sexuality

3. Sexuality, Subjectivity, and Political Identity
A Genealogy of Gay and Lesbian Identity • Erotics: From Subjection to Agency • Silence = Death: Coming Out and the Creation of the Self • Conclusion: After Sexuality, Erotics?

4. What Are Lesbian and Gay Rights?
Sexuality and Normativity: A Relational Right • AIDS and Biopower • Conclusion

5. An Ethos of Lesbian and Gay Existence
Lesbian and Gay Existence: Sexual Orientation, Lifestyle, and Community • The Emergence of a Lesbian and Gay Ethos • Ethos, Knowledge, and Politics • Gay and Lesbian Politics and a New Ethic • Conclusion

Index

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About the Author(s)

Mark Blasius, Associate Professor of Political Science at City University of New York, LaGuardia, is the co-author of We Are Everywhere: An Historical Sourcebook in Gay and Lesbian Politics.

Subject Categories

Sexuality Studies/Sexual Identity
Political Science and Public Policy
Philosophy and Ethics

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