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    Rewriting desire: the construction of sexual identity in literary and legal discourse in postcolonial Ireland

    Hanafin, Patrick (1998) Rewriting desire: the construction of sexual identity in literary and legal discourse in postcolonial Ireland. Social and Legal Studies 7 (3), pp. 431-451. ISSN 0964-6639.

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    The failure of the legal imaginary to reflect sexual difference in the opening decades of the postcolonial Irish state led to what in psychoanalytical terms may be described as the creation of socially abjected groups. Lesbians and gay men were numbered among such groups. The failure of official discourse to contemplate sexual difference as an integral part of Irish national identity was a residue of the Irish colonial experi- ence. The association of Ireland with the female in colonial discourse led the Irish revolutionary elite to propagate a myth of hypermasculinity. This strategy had farreaching consequences for the manner in which matters of sexual difference were to be treated in the postcolonial era. The exclusion of sexually dissident voices from official discourse did not stifle attempts at the levels of literary discourse and pressure group politics to voice alternative desires which were deemed antithetical to the heterosexual Irish state. The growth of alternative narratives of sexual identity led to a gradual transformation of the legal and cultural construction of homosexuality in Ireland. This demonstrates the power of narrative strategies to counter a dominant discourse of blindness to sexual difference and reflects a link between the cultural and legal constructions of sexual identity.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 14:10
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


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