Anarchism & Sexuality. Ethics, Relationships and Power

By Windpassinger, Gwendolyn | Anarchist Studies, July 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Anarchism & Sexuality. Ethics, Relationships and Power


Windpassinger, Gwendolyn, Anarchist Studies


Jamie Heckert and Richard Cleminson (eds.), Anarchism & Sexuality. Ethics, Relationships and Power London: Routledge, 201 1 ; 232 pp ISBN 978-0-415-59989-4; £75.00 (hbk)

This is a timely collection of original articles dealing with connections between anarchism and sexuality. Notably, it bears witness to an intensifying cross-fertilisation between queer theory and anarchism in the present day. The contemporary study of sexuality, particularly the philosophy of sexuality, is very much influenced by queer theory, a theory of sexuality which started to take shape around 1990, and which challenges existing norms governing our understanding of sex, gender and desire, and in particular, the relationship between the three:

Challenging established identities, questioning notions of family and society and even the very idea of what constitutes 'sex' (as both an activity and with respect to what are considered to be biological truths of male and female) can dramatically undercut the foundations of established ways of relating to ourselves, each other and the world (pp.9- 10).

Queer theory has evolved out of gay and lesbian studies, feminist theory and poststructuralism. The influence of the latter on anarchist thought has already led to the development of what is now commonly referred to as postanarchism, and this is a natural stepping stone facilitating intellectual links between queer theory and anarchism. Because of this, both postanarchism and queer theory are frequently referenced in this collection. This is particularly the case in Lena Eckert's 'Post(-) anarchism and the Contrasexual Practices of Cyborgs in Dildotopia: or "The War on the Phallus"', which focuses on the Countersexual Manifesto by queer theorist Beatriz Preciado, an important reference for those who read Spanish, French or German, yet little known in the English-speaking world. Furthermore, in his contribution 'Structures of Desire: Postanarchist Kink in the Speculative Fiction of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany', the well-known postanarchist writer Lewis Call connects queer theory to his postanarchism, seeking to invent a new concept which he calls 'postanarchist kink'. The collection further contains an interview with the queen of queer theory (pun intended), Judith Butler, dealing with her relationship to anarchism. Those who enjoyed her recent participation at 'The Anarchist Turn' conference will welcome her thoughtful engagement with anarchism in this interview.1

Readers who are uncomfortable with the jargon-heavy disciplines of poststructuralist and queer theory will rejoice in those parts of the collection which are less dense, yet by no means less rigorous. In her contribution, Jenny Alexander argues that Alexander Berkman's Prison Memoirs are an example of sexual radicalism; a radicalism largely ignored in subsequent narratives. Many readers will have become familiar with Berkman's homoerotic experiences through Terence Kissack's 'Free Comrades: Anarchism and Homosexuality in the United States' (sec Anarchist Studies 17.1 for an appreciative review by Judy Greenway2), and may find Alexander's to be an interesting addition to the few existing accounts of Berkman's views on sexuality. The collection further contains a beautifully-written analysis of 'Love and revolution in Ursula Le Guin's Four Ways to Forgiveness' by Laurence Davis; and a highly informative overview of contemporary Czech anarchists' relationship to issues of sexuality by Marta Kolárová, which deals among other things with the recent appropriation of queer theory by Czech anarchists and anarchafeminists.

Overall, this is a nicely composed collection of historiographical, sociological, geographical, philosophical and literary analyses of connections between anarchism and sexuality, lightened up with 'poetic interludes'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Anarchism & Sexuality. Ethics, Relationships and Power
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.