Intimate Citizenship and Competing Sexual Rights Claims and Justice in the 21st Century

Call for Contributions/Chapters and Workshop Participation

Thursday 16th April & Friday 17th April 2015, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK

Download the CFP as a pdf-file

Over recent years, there have been significant advances in sexual rights internationally, particularly in Europe, North America and Australasia. Not only is there a greater recognition of sexual and gender diversity, but this recognition is manifest in revisions to national and international law and policy. As a result, people with non-heteronormative sexualities are enjoying and exercising legally protected civil, social, political and cultural rights previously denied to them. These developments might be characterised in terms of, what Plummer (1995: p.151) has called intimate citizenship, “the control (or not) over one’s body, feelings, relationships: access (or not) to representations, relationships, public spaces, etc: and socially grounded choices (or not) about gender identities”. Central to Plummer’s notion of intimate citizenship is the telling of sexual stories, the making public of what was previously private and intimate. However, whilst new stories have emerged, they have not eclipsed the old stories based on pathology and prejudice. Instead, they must sit side by side and attempt to navigate their way through fundamental and, at times, irreconcilable, differences.

These differences mean that the formal terms of changing law and policy have variable limits in how they impact on the social, cultural and political contexts within which people with non-heteronormative sexualities work, live and engage with the public sphere, and different degrees of incursion on their intimate lives. Although Plummer (2001: p.243) sees cultural wars and moral conflicts and “the constant skirmish of (a) insider and outsider, (b) of traditional tribalism struggling against multicultural diversities, (c) of the need for dialogues across the seemingly impossible differences” as characteristic of intimate citizenship, it does raise questions over whose rights are protected and which sexual stories are legitimated or prioritised. These differences include (not exhaustively):

• Claims of conscience in rejecting equal treatment in respect of lesbian and gay adoption and faith-based adoption agencies.
• The toleration of anti-lesbian and gay rhetoric from religious voices
• The criminalisation of HIV transmission without similar penalties for other sexually transmitted diseases
• The scope and limits to the use of hate crime legislation and policy in bullying and harassment of people with non-heteronormative sexualities
• The increased regulation of the production and consumption of pornography
• The persistence of heterosexist assumptions in social care, health, policing and justice and education services
• The persistence of prejudice and pathology of BDSM practices in the cultural, media and civil areas behind law and policy
• The limits and qualifications placed on transgender rights.
• Dissonances in the framing of international and national law and policy and the actuality and cultural milieu of people’s everyday lives
• Sharp distinctions in the enjoyment of equality between those who embrace forms of homonormativity that do not challenge the culture and politics of heteronormativity, and queers who do.

INSEP wishes to publish a coherent set of essays in this area, which marry theoretical enterprise, critical argumentation and empirical case studies. Publication may include a special edition of its journal – – and/or an edited collection in its new book series (or both) depending on the quality and coherence of the papers as a whole. For the journal, the normal double blind refereeing process would be in place and for the book and collegial refereeing and feedback system from editors and contributors would be in place.

We seek essays that focus on these tensions between existing and new rights claims and claims for justice, and which seek to develop dialogical and critical approaches to these tensions, but are open to whatever approaches a contributor wishes to engage with in order to achieve that, whether philosophical, or through literature, or through social, economic, cultural and/or political analyses. We especially welcome transdisciplinary approaches.

The purpose of the workshop is to present and gain feedback on drafts of chapters/articles from a learned and invited audience with much time given to discussion and debate. We would anticipate only a small nominal charge to those attending to cover base costs (no more than £10-15), with delegates meeting their own travel and accommodation costs, though INSEP will affiliate with a letter of invitation that ties workshop participation together with publication.

The project will be led by Allison Moore and Paul Reynolds from the Department of Social Sciences, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK, and the intention is to have publication of essays that meet quality thresholds by early 2016. Please send proposals for essays to Allison Moore at by Monday 12th January 2014.  The timeline is:

• Monday 12th January 2015 – expressions of interest in the form of 300 word abstracts, with name, affiliation and contact details
• Monday 19th Januari 2014 – responses to expressions of interest
• Thursday 16th April & Friday 17th April 2015 – opportunity to present draft essays at a two-day workshop at Edge Hill University to which contributors will be encouraged to attend/present
• Friday 17th April 2015 – editors decisions communicated as to the form of the publication(s) – This will be discussed at the workshop.
• Monday 8th June 2015 – submission of draft essays. For the journal, essays will go through normal but expedited double blind peer review. For the book, essays will be refereed by other contributors and an editor.
• Early July 2015 – Return of feedback on drafts
• Monday 21st September 2015 – submission of final drafts of essays
• Publication – early 2016