Institutionalised homosexuality in South Africa: queering same-sex desire

Fortuin, Bernard Nolen (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation looks at South African literary and cultural representations of male homosexual desire from 1948 to 2013. It employs Michel Foucault’s concept of biopolitics/biopower and Judith Butler’s heterosexual matrix amongst others to engage with South African literary and cultural representations of male homosexuality. The country is seen to associate homosexuality with a similar sense of pathology as was the trend in the colonial centre. Later, as the continent comes to rely less on Western frameworks of self-definition there is an indigenisation of these Western identities as they rub up against conservative patriarchy and homophobia. I analyse texts set in the various institutions that form/ed the foundation of the modern capitalist state that is South Africa. They reflect my argument that in a society geared at institutionalising (white) heteronormativity there was/is still space for a queering of self and other which in turn allows moments of intimacy and transgressive dissidence. The homosexual man and his interplay with the heteronormative family, army, schools and prisons reflect the racist and gendered nature of South African society and the problematic way in which femininity has become conflated with a state of subjection. Similarly, homosexuality is seen to become a generative site where performances of masculinity and gender can be queered.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif kyk na Suid-Afrikaanse literêre en kulturele uitbeeldings van manlike homoseksuele begeerte vanaf 1948 tot 2013. Dit werk met Michel Foucault se konsep van biopolitiek/biomag en Judith Butler se konsep van die “heterosexual matrix” as 'n lens waardeur die Suid-Afrikaner literêre en kulturele konstruksie/s van homoseksualiteit gelees kan word. Homoseksualiteit word in die land geassosieer met 'n gevoel van patologie soos die tendens was in die koloniale sentrum. Later, wanneer die vasteland minder op Westelike raamwerke van self-definisie staatmaak is daar 'n verinheemsing van hierdie Westelike identiteite soos hulle wryg teen konserwatiewe patriargie en homofobie. Ek bespreek tekste wat wys hoe biopolitiek die basis van Suid Afrika as moderne kapitalistiese staat vorm. Die tekste weerspieël my oogpunt dat in 'n samelewing gerig op die institusionalisering van (wit) heteronormatiwiteit daar nog steeds ruimte is vir 'n “queering” van die self en die ander wat op sy beurt oomblikke van intimiteit en grensoorskryding bewerkstelling. Die homoseksuele man en sy wisselwerking met die heteronormatiewe familie, weermag, skole en tronke weerspieël die rassistiese en geslagtelike aard van die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing asook die problematiese manier waarop vroulikheid verwar geword het met 'n toestand van onderdanigheid. Net so kan homoseksualiteit gesien word om 'n generatiewe terrein waar vertonings van manlikheid en geslag “queered” kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98074
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