Feeling Queer Jurisprudence : Injury, Intimacy, Identity book cover
1st Edition

Feeling Queer Jurisprudence
Injury, Intimacy, Identity

ISBN 9780815356509
Published January 14, 2020 by Routledge
168 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book draws on the analytic and political dimensions of queer, alongside the analytic and political usefulness of emotion, to navigate legal interventions aimed at progressing the rights of LGBT people.

Scholars, activists, lawyers, and judges concerned with eliminating violence and discrimination against LGBT people have generated passionate conversations about pursuing law reform to make LGBT injuries, intimacies, and identities visible, while some challenge the ways legal systems marginalise queer minorities. Senthorun Sunil Raj powerfully contributes to these ongoing conversations by using emotion as an analytic frame to reflect on the ways case law seeks to "progress" the intimacies and identities of LGBT people from positions of injury. This book catalogues a range of cases from Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom to unpack how emotion shapes the decriminalisation of homosexuality, hate crime interventions, anti-discrimination measures, refugee protection, and marriage equality. While emotional enactments in pro-LGBT jurisprudence enable new forms of recognition and visibility, they can also work, paradoxically, to cover over queer intimacies and identities. Raj innovatively shows that reading jurisprudence through emotions can make space in law to affirm, rather than disavow, intimacies and identities that queer conventional ideas about "LGBT progress", without having to abandon legal pursuits to protect LGBT people.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of human rights law, gender and sexuality studies, and socio-legal theory.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter One- Feeling Progress: Queer Scholarship, Emotional Jurisprudence

Chapter Two- Directing Disgust: Queerness and Criminality

Chapter Three- Healing Hate: Queer Violence and Punishment

Chapter Four- Animating Anger: Queer Discrimination and Accommodation

Chapter Five- Fighting Fear: Queer Claims and Asylum

Chapter Six- Loosening Love: Queer Kinship and Marriage Equality

Conclusion - Towards Queer Reparative Futures

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Senthorun Sunil Raj is a Lecturer in Law at Keele University.



Emily Grabham, Professor of Law, University of Kent, UK

Feeling Queer Jurisprudence is a powerful and original contribution to queer legal theory, reminding us of the affective resonances and political effects of LGBT engagements with law and rights. This beautifully written text engages with rich literatures on affect, emotion and feeling to enliven our understanding of the meaning and consequences of cases, litigation strategies and LGBT legal engagements.


Alex Sharpe, Professor of Law, Keele University, UK

The most insightful critiques of law are those that engage with the idea of liberal ‘progress,’ with those moments when the royal ‘no’ is suspended. Feeling Queer Jurisprudence considers a range of contested emotions that find expression in and through law and highlights how, in opposition to its own self-image, law is full of emotion. That is, while law produces problematic effects in moments of reform, it is also fundamentally a place of affect. Senthorun Sunil Raj is to be congratulated for this ground breaking book that extends legal analysis along this vector. For reform produces not only exclusions, both instrumental and discursive. It is also animated by emotions of disgust, hate, anger, fear and love. This book foregrounds emotional attachments in pro-LGBT cases in the areas of criminal, marriage, equality and asylum law, in order to identify the kinds of injury, intimacy and identity law recognises and demonstrates why accounting for emotion helps us to understand those attachments and thereby challenge their limits.


Matthew Weait, Professor of Law, University of Portsmouth, UK

One of the more challenging developments in legal scholarship over the past couple of decades has been the deployment of queer theory to illuminate, unsettle, and challenge our assumptions about what law does and of what it can, and cannot, achieve in delivering progressive political and social change. In this thoughtful and important book, Senthorun Sunil Raj explores the vital, if often occluded, role emotion and affect have in cases concerning sexuality, and helps us understand the jurisprudential dynamics in this exciting and challenging area of law.