The sociology of Lesbian and gay reflexivity or reflexive sociology?

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This article is concerned with sociological conceptualisations of lesbian and gay sexualities as reflexive forms of existence, and identifies core problems with these. Our sociological narratives about lesbian and gay reflexivity tend to be partial in two senses. First, they talk about and envision only very particular - and relatively exclusive - experience, and fail to adequately account for the significance of difference and power in shaping diverse lesbian and gay experiences. Second, they tend to be underpinned by overly affirmative and normative projects, and are often narratives about how lesbian and gay life should be. Our narratives about lesbian and gay reflexivity sometimes confuse analysis with prescription, and actualities with potentialities. Their partiality limits the analytical purchase they afford, and is an inadequate basis on which to analyse contemporary lesbian and gay identities and ways of living. The article proposes an approach to studying lesbian and gay living that is orientated more towards reflexive sociology than the sociology of reflexive sexualities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2008


  • Difference
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Methodology
  • Power
  • Reflexivity
  • Sexualities


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