Homophobia (2): Theories of Sexual Difference

Jonathan Dollimore

in Sexual Dissidence

Published in print August 1991 | ISBN: 9780198112259
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670732 | DOI:
Homophobia (2): Theories of Sexual Difference

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Several kinds of difference figure in contemporary cultural theory but two especially: sexual difference and cultural difference, with each of these complicated by a third kind of difference which construes meaning and identity in terms of difference or, more exactly, differential relations, the ‘semiotic difference’. The homosexual is significantly implicated in both sexual and cultural differences, and for two main reasons. First because he or she has been regarded as one who fears the difference of the ‘other’ or opposite sex. Secondly, contrary to what the foregoing theory implies, she or he has, in historical actuality, embraced both cultural difference and racial difference. This crossing constitutes a complex, difficult history, one from which we can learn. This chapter argues for the importance of this history for all three kinds of difference — sexual, cultural, and semiotic — as they figure in current theory.

Keywords: sexual difference; cultural difference; semiotic difference; racial difference; identity; homosexual; homophobia

Chapter.  12152 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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