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Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality

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This volume showcases ten years of research on language, gender and sexuality informed by queer theory. In line with a queer dislike for any normalizing discourse and practice, the book gives a multi-faceted set of applications of queer theoretical ideas to linguistic analysis. The chapters that open the book engage with theoretical debates about identity and desire, and the relationships between these concepts. The following contributions offer linguistic precision to two key areas of queer theoretical interest, namely the critique of heteronormativity and the deconstruction of the gender binary. The final chapters pick up on some of the thematic threads of the book, but locate them within recent developments in the study of language and space. With examples from a variety of sociopolitical contexts – Denmark, Greece, Serbia, Sweden, South Africa, USA – and discursive sites – phrasebooks, school interactions, literary texts, as well as online dating sites and chats – the book gives a critical overview of how gender, sexuality and power can be queered through linguistic analysis.

Published: Feb 10, 2018

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Tommaso Milani
1 Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality: Theory and Practice Tommaso Milani
Part I: Identity and Desire
2. Models of Gay Male Identity and the Marketing of 'Gay Language' in Foreign-Language Phrasebooks for Gay Men Rusty Barrett
3. The Desire for Identity and the Identity of Desire: Language, Gender and Sexuality in the Greek Context Costas Canakis
4. Incomprehensible Language? Language, Ethnicity and Heterosexual Masculinity in a Swedish School Tommaso Milani, Rickard Jonsson
Part II: Beyond Binaries?
5. Do Bodies Matter? Travestis' Embodiment of (Trans)Gender Identity through the Manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese Grammatical Gender System Rodrigo Borba, Ana Cristina Ostermann
6. Butch Camp: On the Discursive Construction of a Queer Identity Position Veronika Koller
7. The Other Kind of Coming Out: Transgender People and the Coming out Narrative Genre Lal Zimman
Part III: Unpacking Heteronormativity
8. Constructing Hegemonic Masculinities in South Africa: The Discourse and Rhetoric of Heteronormativity Russell Luyt
9. On-line Constructions of Metrosexuality and Masculinities: A Membership Categorization Analysis Matthew Hall, Brendan Gough, Sarah Seymour-Smith, Susan Hansen
10. A Bit too Skinny for Me: Women's Homosocial Constructions of Heterosexual Desire in Online Dating Kristine Mortensen
Part IV: Gender, Sexuality and Space
11. Normal Straight Gays: Lexical Collocations and Ideologies of Masculinity in Personal Ads of Serbian Gay Teenagers Ksenija Bogetic
12. Language, Sexuality and Place: The View from Cyberspace Brian King
13. Homophobia as Moral Geography William Leap
End Matter
Index Tommaso Milani


Provides a comprehensive overview of a decade of 'queer linguistic' research... On the basis of its diverse methodologies and the richness of its theoretical frameworks alone, this book should be read widely as an introduction to language, gender and sexuality studies... A suite of excellent contributions to queer linguistics from its inception to now. The future of the field is only tantalizingly described, but readers of this book will be reminded of its accomplished past, and assured of its bright prospects under the guidance of scholars like Milani and the contributors. Here's to more discomforting, provoking and queering!
Journal of Language and Sexuality

Anyone who wants to engage with research in this area and gain a deeper insight into the methodological and theoretical debates this work engenders would find this a very valuable starting point.
Journal of Language and Politics

As a survey of ‘queer’ approaches to language, gender, and sexuality, it is a powerful collection with both theoretical heft and definitive detail. It would be an excellent reader for a course that focuses in some way on language and gender/sexuality.
This is a book that should be read by scholars outside of the narrow field of language, gender, and sexuality (LGS), because the processes that are pointed to here all have important lessons for sociolinguists working in areas in which gender and sexuality are not the primary focus, and lessons for gender/sexuality scholars not working directly on language.
Journal of Sociolinguistics