CfP: The Sexual Politics of Austerity. Queer Everyday life in neoliberal times (European Geographies of Sexualities Conference, 09/2013, Lisbon); DL: 18.04.2013

Session at the II European Geographies of Sexualities Conference, Lisbon, 5 – 7 September 2013 (Web)Convened by: Cesare Di Feliciantonio (Sapienza- Università di Roma, Italy); Gavin Brown (University of Leicester); and Paulo Jorge Vieira (Center for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon)

Even thought debt and financial crisis seems to favor the emergence of new and original social movements and anti-capitalistic actions, neoliberal policies remain the main response to crisis by formal institutions (Aalbers, 2013; Rossi, 2013), promoting austerity measures and the cuts to welfare systems. At the same time, neoliberal regimes intervene in the sexual and affective life of people, reinforcing new forms of normativity in LGBT movements and populations. In fact, just over a decade ago, Lisa Duggan (2002) famously described ‘the new homonormativity’ as “the sexual politics of neoliberalism”. Her arguments are now familiar in relation to the rapid liberalization of social and legal attitudes towards homosexuality since the early 1990s. Lesbian and gay life has been domesticated and depoliticized; and, some mainstream LGB(T) advocacy organisations have moved to the right – their calls for ‘equality’ no longer offer even a pretense of addressing broader issues of social and economic justice. Discriminatory laws have been removed from the statute books and new forms of legal ‘equality’ have been enacted in many polities; albeit in ways that privilege individualised responsibility for social well-being through consumption. Although uneven, aspects of these changes have been witnessed in most countries in the Global North, increasingly in several of the more dynamic emerging economies in the Global South (especially the so-called BRICS nations), and a smattering of other nations. Duggan’s theorisation of homonormativity has been influential, but it was written during a period of economic boom. This session seeks to question how the sexual politics of neoliberalism has altered since the global financial crisis of 2008, as neoliberalism has entered a period of austerity and intensified revanchism. At the same time, our aim is not to build a monolithic and solely hopeless account of the sexual politics of neoliberalism – we would like to discuss which kinds of opportunities and interstitial spaces can be offered by crisis and austerity measures in terms of class recomposition and political action for sexual dissidents (trans people, sex workers, people involved in polyamourous unions, people living with HIV/AIDS, and other new sexual/gender minorities).

Empirical and / or theoretical papers are welcomed on any theme which deepens the plural understanding of the geographic dimensions of neoliberal sexual politics and the possible challenges towards it; possibly interesting topics include:

  • Heteronormativity/homonormativity and everyday life in austerity times;
  • The effects of austerity measures on sexual dissidents’ everyday life;
  • Class, Ethnicity and Same Sex Marriage;
  • Compulsory coupledom and the burdens of single life;
  • Neoliberalism, Sexual Politics and new spaces of political action challenging it;
  • The gendered and sexually dimensions of class recomposition;
  • Queer Theory, Feminism, and (materialist) critique of normativity;
  • The (re)emergence of gay and lesbian revanchist politics.

Please send your name, affiliation details, and email address along with your abstract of no more than 300 words to Cesare Di Feliciantonio (; Gavin Brown (; and Paulo Jorge Vieira (

Deadline for submission is 18 April 2013.

For more details about the conference, please visit the website:


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