BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Queer individualization: the transformation of personal life in the early 21st Century

    Roseneil, Sasha (2007) Queer individualization: the transformation of personal life in the early 21st Century. NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research 15 (2-3), pp. 84-99. ISSN 0803-8740.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    This article explores what happens to understandings of social change in the realm of personal life when an empirical investigation is carried out that begins from rather different ontological and epistemological premises from those that have underpinned recent debates. It draws on UK‐based research that was framed by an engagement with sociological theories of individualization, psychoanalytically informed psycho‐social studies and queer theory, and that was designed to explore the psychic and affective dimensions, and the unconventional, counter‐heteronormative practices, of contemporary personal life. The study used the free association narrative interview method to examine the practices and ethics of personal life of people living outside conventional couples. It found considerable levels of psychic conflict and emotional distress, and some mental illness, amongst the people interviewed. Many interviewees told stories of experiencing a fracturing of self as they faced lives in which they felt alone and in which they were expected to be self‐responsible. These experiences, it is suggested, can be understood as tied up with losses contingent upon processes of individualization. However, the research also found evidence of a set of interrelated, counter‐heteronormative relationship practices that served reparatively to suture the selves undone by these processes of individualization: the prioritizing of friendship, the decentring of sexual/love relationships, and the forming of non‐conventional partnerships. The article proposes the notion of queer individualization to capture this set of transformations in the organization and experience of personal life, and suggests the necessity of understanding contemporary personal life as involving both the pain of loss, and new, reparative non‐conventional connections.


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item