American Homo: Community and Perversity

American Homo: Community and Perversity

by Jeffrey Escoffier
     
 

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Jeffrey Escoffier traces the emergence of a gay and lesbian political identity over the last four decades in this wide-ranging collection of his most influential essays. Situating the development of gay and lesbian communities in a broad sweep of recent American history, Escoffier examines how an urban subculture created by stigmatized and invisible men and women

Overview

Jeffrey Escoffier traces the emergence of a gay and lesbian political identity over the last four decades in this wide-ranging collection of his most influential essays. Situating the development of gay and lesbian communities in a broad sweep of recent American history, Escoffier examines how an urban subculture created by stigmatized and invisible men and women evolved into a vital public community with an activist political aga and an influential position in contemporary American culture. Detailing what he calls the "political economy of the closet," Escoffier argues that the market process often played a crucial role (for better or for worse) in the emergence of gay and lesbian communities, and conversely, that these new communities have significantly impacted the American marketplace. From the development of a camp sensibility in popular culture‹inspired by the erotic exhibitionism of drag queens‹to the public reformation of safer-sex guidelines, Escoffier demonstrates how the gay movement has gradually acquired both social authority and recognition as a booming market. Throughout the ongoing struggle for legitimacy, gays and lesbians have had to negotiate the historical tension between the homoeroticism that courses through American culture and periodic outbreaks of homophobic paranoia. Escoffier follows the lesbian and gay movement across the contested terrain of American political life between the poles of multiculturalism and the religious right, to reveal how sexual minorities constitute a challenge to American society even as they are thoroughly integrated as citizens and kin. From McCarthy-era witchhunts to the activism of Queer Nation, Escoffier vividly describesthecharacteristic American homosexual journey through the tangled political web of authenticity, identity, and community.

Author Biography: Jeffrey Escoffier is a writer, theorist, and deputy director for policy and research of the Office of Gay and Lesbian Health in New York City. He teaches Queer Social Theory at the New School for Social Research.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the deconstructionist tradition of Foucault and Marcuse, this collection of essays and articles by gay writer and educator Escoffier spans 15 years in the author's attempt to "recode" the sociopolitical identity of gays and lesbians in contemporary American life. Covering such topics as sexual revolution and the politics of gay identity, the political economy of the closet, and the limits of multiculturalism, the author traces the burgeoning political vitality of gays and lesbians and how that vitality challenges the traditional heterosexist political and economic hegemony. The author concludes that in order to overcome the antidemocratic agenda of the far Right, gays and lesbians will have to unite with other social movements in a Rainbow Coalition-type organization. The French intellectual tradition is very much alive in this work. Suited primarily for academic and large collections where queer social theory is read.--Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., OR
Judith Stacey
Escoffier has established himself as one of the senior statesmen in the field of gay and lesbian studies....This is a wise, original book from one of our finest.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520206335
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
09/30/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
316
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

What People are saying about this

Judith Stacey
[Escoffier's] experience and intellectual acumen bridge both the 'town-gown' divide and the transition from gay studies to queer theory and cultural studies. This is a wise, original book from one of our finest.

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Escoffier is a writer, theorist, and deputy director for policy and research of the Office of Gay and Lesbian Health in New York City. He teaches Queer Social Theory at the New School for Social Research.

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