The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority: The 'Trials' of Same-Sex Desire, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority

The 'Trials' of Same-Sex Desire, 1st Edition

By Aleardo Zanghellini

Routledge

206 pages

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Description

While there is no shortage of studies addressing the state’s regulation of the sexual, research into the ways in which the sexual governs the state and its attributes is still in its infancy. The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority argues that there are good reasons to suppose that our understandings of state power quiver with erotic undercurrents. The book maintains, more specifically, that the relationship between ideas of political authority and male same-sex desire is especially fraught. Through a series of case studies where a statesman’s same-sex desire was put on trial (either literally or metaphorically) as a problem for the good exercise of public powers, the book shows the resilience and adaptability of cultural beliefs in the incompatibility between public office and male same-sex desire. Some of the case studies analysed are familiar ground for both political/constitutional history and the history of sexuality. The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority argues, however, that only by systematically reading questions of institutional politics and questions of sexuality through each other will we have access to the most interesting insights that a study of these trials can generate. Whether they involve obscure public officials or iconic rulers such as Hadrian and James I, these compelling fragments of queer history reveal that the disavowal of male same-sex desire has been, and partly remains, central to mainstream understandings of political authority.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1 (Antiquity); Chapter 2 (Middle Ages); Chapter 3 (Renaissance and Early Modern Period); Chapter 4 (Modern Age); Chapter 5 (Late Modernity); Conclusions

About the Author

Aleardo Zanghellini is Professor of Law and Social Theory at the University of Reading.

About the Series

Social Justice

Within a broad geopolitical and intellectual landscape, this new, theoretically engaged, interdisciplinary series explores institutional and grassroots practices of social justice across a range of spatial scales. While the pursuit of social justice is as important as it has ever been, its character, conditions, values, and means of advancement are being radically questioned and rethought in the light of contemporary challenges and choices. Attuned to these varied and evolving contexts, Social Justice explores the complex conditions social justice politics confronts and inhabits – of crisis, shock, and erosion, as well as renewal and social invention, of change as well as continuity.

Foregrounding struggle, imagined alternatives and the embedding of new norms, the Social Justice series welcomes books which critically and normatively address the values underpinning new social politics, everyday forms of embodied practice, new dissident knowledges, and struggles to institutionalise change. In particular, the series seeks to explore state and non-state forms of organisation, analysing the different pathways through which social justice projects are put into practice, and the contests their practice generates. More generally, submissions are welcomed exploring the following themes:

• The changing politics of equality and social justice

• The establishment of alternative, organised sites and networks through which social and political experimentation take place

• The phenomenology of power, inequality and changing social relations

• Techniques of governance through which social change and equality agendas are advanced and institutionalised across different geographic scales

• Institutionalisation of new norms (through official and unofficial forms of institutionalisation) and struggles over them

• Practices of resistance, reversal, counter-hegemony and anti-normativity

• Changing values, practices, and the ways in which relations of inequality and difference are understood

Social Justice is intended as a critical interdisciplinary series, at the interface of law, social theory, politics and cultural studies. The series welcomes proposals that advance theoretical discussion about social justice, power, institutions, grass-roots practice and values/ ethics. Seeking to develop new conversations across different disciplines and fields, and working with wide-ranging methodologies, Social Justice seeks contributions that are open, engaging, and which speak to a wide, diverse academic audience across all areas of the law, social sciences and humanities.

For further information on the series, or to discuss a possible contribution, please contact the Series Editors at:

Davina Cooper, Kent Law School, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, UK
Tel: +44 (1227) 824172
d.s.cooper@kent.ac.uk

Sarah Lamble, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Tel: +44 (0)207 631 6017
s.lamble@bbk.ac.uk

Sarah Keenan, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Tel: +44 (0)207 631 6017
s.keenan@bbk.ac.uk

 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW000000
LAW / General
LAW109000
LAW / Government / General
POL010000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POL025000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership
POL040000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General
SOC012000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gay Studies