Michael's Reviews > The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond

The Sexual Citizen by David J. Bell
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's review
May 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: social-theory-comps
Read in March, 2010

Bell and Binnie (2000) argue that the current sexual politics is often a rights discourse, one that "tends to demand a modality of sexual citizenship that is privatized, deradicalized, de-eroticized, and confined in all senses of the word: kept in place, policed, limited" (3). Following Jeffrey Weeks, they explain that rights claims often result in a "private space to be a sexual citizen" (4), keeping sex private and the family as the center of citizenship (5). However, Bell and Binnie also argue that "all citizenship is sexual citizenship" because notions of citizenship are sexualized (10). In agreement with Diane Richardson, they note that citizenship discourse is heterosexualized, which must be challenged (33).

The book is largely an overview of other queer and social theorists take on citizenship and sexuality, covering the conservative gay desire of invisibility (46), tensions between queer sexuality and the social (67-82), the gay man as urban flâneur (86), the threat queers make to space and the ways authorities domesticate space to make it safe for families (95), the development of gay men and lesbians as a consumer demographic that depoliticizes the market (96-107), the politics of love and friendship that could be deployed without reinstating the private/public dichotomy (123-140).
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