What can homonationalism tell us about sexuality in South Africa?: Exploring the relationships between biopolitics, necropolitics, sexual exceptionalism and homonormativity

In this paper for the Journal of Gender Studies, Andrew Tucker seeks to consider new ways in which sexuality is framed and regulated in South Africa and the impact these framings have for different sexual subjects.

ABSTRACT
There are important opportunities to further consider how the framework presented by homonationalism can apply beyond relationships connected to the US or the Middle East where it is traditionally applied. From a southern perspective and focusing on post-apartheid South Africa, this article examines how homonationalism’s framings may help us understand the subjectification of diverse sexualities in the country through their connection to national and regional politics. It begins by exploring the historical connections between biopolitics and necropolitics in South Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, to highlight how different contemporary sexual subjectivities are imbricated with different types of biopolitical population regulation. It then argues that such differences are reflected through and furthered by the way South Africa has projected ideas of its sexual exceptionalism within the wider region, a process that itself relies on South African-specific homonormativity.

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