Buggery is not merely another term in the lexicon of the law, through which the male body in its genital relations with other male bodies is to be represented. Buggery has long been assigned an exalted position. This chapter is concerned with the way in which this nobility is generated at any one time, particularly the present, and repeated over time. The position of ‘buggery’ is intimately connected to the meanings that have been associated with and given voice through the use of ‘buggery’ to make sense and nonsense of this male genital body with particular reference to the English legal order. This chapter is an exploration of those meanings. In pursuing this line of analysis, the chapter seeks to achieve another objective: to explore the meanings that have been associated with and given voice through the term ‘homosexual’ in law. In the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, a connection is made between buggery and homosexual. It is made in the name of equivalence, between buggery and homosexual, and in the name of tradition. Tradition, as the bond that connects homosexual to buggery, is important in two ways. First, it suggests that the meanings that are henceforth to be associated with and given a voice through the use of ‘homosexual’ are those that have been produced by way of ‘buggery’. Second, tradition suggests not only a sameness between homosexual and buggery but it also suggests a sameness in the repetition of ‘buggery’ over time. In pursuing an analysis of the meanings of ‘buggery’, this chapter seeks to challenge these claims of sameness and repetition.
The chapter seeks to draw attention to the multiplicity of meanings that inform and are given a voice by way of ‘buggery’ in the law. This multiplicity of meanings at any one time and over a period of time is not only offered as a challenge to the claims of sameness and repetition that is tradition but it also has another significance. It draws attention to the way in which, perhaps contrary to expectations, sameness and repetition might also be a vehicle for change. Having drawn attention to the changes that take place in the meanings that form and are given a voice through buggery, the analysis will then return to tradition as the production of sameness. Having attempted to challenge the claims of tradition as the production of sameness and repetition, at this point the purpose of the 66