Gay Back Alley Tolstoys and Inheritance Perspectives    : Re-Imagining Kinship in Queer Margins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


My chapter discusses the ways that inheritance system impacts queer kin relations and practices off-the-centre. In which ways the internal psychical structuring as well as external social forces influence the configurations of support and care networks in margins of urban gay culture? Drawing on Marilyn Strathern’s intellectual work on new kinship forms and on my own multinational qualitative and quantitative data, I offer a point for discussion on how queer kinship ties rely on constant everyday and conceptual renegotiations and reconfigurations. These take place between on-going legal, social, political and cultural categorizations and conceptualizations. Based on a long-term observation of the intimate, mutual relations of four off-scene gay men – Back Alley Tolstoys – in Helsinki, I investigate how dominant legal and cultural commitments to kinship relate to queer configurations of care in a diminishing welfare state. I suggest that will-writing – as queer act – and queer kin charts – as queer method – may work as a new devices and critiques of kinship, in producing, practising and providing knowledge of such relations that could not easily be articulated. They could help us to approach queer lives from the perspective of social practices and cultural identifications rather than only from sex and sexuality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering Knowledge : Analytics, Devices and Investments after Marilyn Strathern
EditorsPaul Boyce, EJ Gonzalez-Polledo, Silvia Posocco
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-23098-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-31648-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameTheorizing Ethnography: Concept, Context, Critique
ISSN (Print)2687-9522
ISSN (Electronic)2687-9514

Bibliographical note

Dr. Antu Sorainen, PhD, is Docent in Gender Studies, working at the University of Helsinki. She is the Director of the research team “CoreKin – Contrasting and Re-Imagining Margins of Kinship” (funded by the Academy of Finland, 2016-2020). Her current 3-year research project on Protolesbian Life History and Nationalist Sentiment in 1920-30s Finland is granted by the Cultural Fopundation of Finland (2019-2022). She has conducted empirical studies in the area of queer sexualities in the legal field. She is the co-author of a book on the conceptual history of “Sittlichkeit”, and has published recently on queer inheritance practices. Sorainen was an Academy Fellow at the Academy of Finland and the PI of the research project titled “Wills and Inheritance Practices in Sexually Marginalised Groups” (2014-2019). •

Fields of Science

  • 513 Law
  • Inheritance and sexualities
  • Queer City
  • 5202 Economic and Social History
  • Kallio Social History
  • KInship
  • Inheritance
  • Gay Lives
  • Marilyn Strathern
  • Urban Sexualities
  • Queer studies
  • Queer Anthropology
  • Queer Ethnography
  • Gender Studies
  • 6160 Other humanities
  • Queer Studies
  • Gender studies
  • Queer Anthropology
  • Queer Ethnography
  • Queer Wills
  • Queer Inheritance
  • Gentrification
  • Gay Lives

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