Edited By Bee Scherer and Matthew Ball
Developing the intellectual project initiated in Queering Paradigms, this volume extends queer theorizing in challenging new directions and uses queer insights to explore, trouble, and interrogate the social, political, and intellectual agendas that pervade (and are often taken for granted within) public discourses and academic disciplines.
The contributing authors include queer theorists, socio-linguists, sociologists, political activists, educators, social workers and criminologists. Together, they contribute not only to the ongoing process of theorizing queerly, but also to the critique and reformulation of their respective disciplines.
Part II - Queer Subjectivities -61
PART II Queer Subjectivities Liz Morrish and Helen Sauntson Gender, Desire and Identity in a Corpus of Lesbian Erotica Introduction This chapter aims to investigate how lesbian desires and identities are rep- resented in a small corpus of lesbian erotica from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Several previous studies have looked at gay men’s erotica, but there has been little academic attention paid to lesbian erotica, and no linguistic analysis of this genre has been published. Two studies in particular (Bolton 1995; Baker 2004a) on the language of gay male erotica have been useful in informing this research in terms of methodology and analysis. This chapter uses corpus linguistic analysis (explained below) of the texts to perform a detailed analysis of the language and what can be uncovered about dis- courses of lesbian desires and sexual practices in the texts. The second aim is to explore how and what kinds of lesbian identities are discursively constructed, particularly in terms of gender and female masculinity. A related aim is to discover whether a particular lesbian encod- ing of the erotic can be talked about, particularly whether there might be candidates for what Judith Butler (1993), borrowing from Jacques Lacan, has called the “lesbian phallus.” Butler’s starting point is a Lacanian notion of the phallus as signifier. Following Ferdinand de Saussure, if signifier and signified have only a conventional link, then there is no intrinsic connec- tion between the signifier phallus, and the male penis. Butler has argued for an “aggressive...
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