Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation
Abstract: One of the strategies in attempts to find new directions and developments of queer theory and queer studies in the past 10-15 years has been bringing to the fore the varying local contexts in which international discourses of queer theorizing, activism and (cultural) life are implemented and the interaction between queer and surrounding society. This paper reports results of a sociological study of queer activism in Denmark and Sweden based on analysis of activist publications, net pages and interviews as well as participant observation. While many in the Nordic countries and particularly Denmark and Sweden take pride in their reputations as societies with well-developed gender equality policies and permissive sexual cultures, scholars and activists alike are painfully aware that unequal and oppressive Western gender and sexuality cultures are fully operational in these countries, too. Still, the mainstream equality claims and discourses constitute a very particular feature the social and cultural context in which queer activists act in the Nordic countries. What are the consequences for activism? The examination is organised around the question how the somewhat different theoretical, political-activist and thematic aspects of the deliberately loosely defined concept of queer have been emphasised within what is named queer activism in these countries? I focus on the issues of relationships between queer in academia and grass-roots activism, queer and the part of the LGBTQ movement that does not employ the concept of queer as well as the emergence of “queer generations” within the movement. Along these lines a number of variations of queer activism can be identified. They are united by the need to effectuate change. Some of these variations are local but not only different between the two countries. Thus, the paper needs to interrogate the meaningfulness of one of its own basic premises, using nation states as frames of reference for the discussion of the social contexts of a transnational movement such as queer activism.