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Sexual Citizenship - Essay Example

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The concept of identity has been brought under philosophical scrutiny, as identity politics has fallen in and out of favor. Sexual identity, however, has proven especially divisive, fraught with questions and rhetoric about choice and destiny, nature and nurture, essentialism and social construction, morality and legislation. …
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Sexual Citizenship
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Download file to see previous pages Discuss how the notion of sexual citizenship differs from Freudian and Foucaldian concepts of Sexual identity. Identity- whether based on race, gender, ethnicity, ability, or sexuality – has emerged during the last half-century as one of the most difficult problems for contemporary theory and politics. The concept of identity has been brought under philosophical scrutiny, as identity politics has fallen in and out of favor. Sexual identity, however, has proven especially divisive, fraught with questions and rhetoric about choice and destiny, nature and nurture, essentialism and social construction, morality and legislation. At a practical level, sexual identity is a core concern for lesbian and gay outsiders since the decision about whether, when, to whom, or with whom to identify as lesbian or gay often has far-ranging social and political implications. At the philosophical level, it is one of the major issues of the day. Luce Irigaray has this to say about the philosophical importance of sexual difference: Sexual difference is one of the major philosophical issues, if not the issue, of our age. According to Heidegger, each age has one issue to think through, and one only. Sexual difference is probably the issue in our time which could be our “salvation” if we thought it through....
constructed in a male image, women are treated as second-class citizens. Richardson
(2000) further points out that lesbians and gays an be regarded as partial citizens as the
image of the citizen is constructed not merely as male but also as heterosexual.
The development of a differentiated concept of citizenship
is one way of appropriating the notion of difference. It points toward a politics of
difference which relies on group identity to provide for legal protection and equal rights.
This way of dealing with difference is, however, criticized by postmodern thinkers and
queer theorists as reducing difference to identity. While the concept of a differentiated
citizenship, and its associated politics of difference, aims to redress structural injustice
between men and women, and heterosexuals and homosexuals, the difference is primary
located between identities. It is not so much a difference that troubles identity from
within.
Foucault has provided a radical account of how modern forms of
normalizing power operate through the constitution of identity bearing subjects.
Normalization, Foucault notes, is not exactly a force of repression or expiation, but rather
a power of individualization. It brings five quite distinct operations into play:
homogenization, comparison, differentiation, hierarchization and exclusion. Individuals
are compared, differentiated, and hierarchized according to their differing nature and
qualities. Some kinds of sexuality are as seen as more acceptable than others; some kinds
of pursued pleasure are seen as more normal and acceptable than others. Individuals
come to identify themselves as a subject with a specific ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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