Ethnographic reflexivity and the heterosexualisation of anthropological knowledge
(University of Melbourne)
Paper short abstract:
The study of hetero-sexuality in anthropology has been largely subsumed to biological and social reproduction, kinship and marriage. What are the implications of heteronormativity on the production of anthropological knowledge?
Paper long abstract:
Drawing on insights about sexuality from queer theory, development studies has produced some ground-breaking analyses of sex, sexuality and erotics in the 'global South'. Scholars such as Susie Jolly and Amy Lind have alterted us to the workings of heteronormative imperialism that produces racialised dichotomies between Southern sex -as a danger and problem (e.g. overpopulation, sexual violence and disease)— and Northern sex as love and pleasure. In anthropology, and despite work on gay, lesbian and queer sexuality, the study of hetero-sexuality is similarly subsumed into functionalist discussions about biological and social reproduction, kinship and marriage. Why this silence about hetero-sexuality? What are the implications of heteronormativity on the production of anthropological knowledge? How, if at all, does discussion of hetero-sex in the field help challenge this bias?
Sex and the field: sex, power, and the production of anthropological knowledge