Homosexuality and the new right: the legacy of the 1980s for new delineations of homophobia

Waites, M. (2000) Homosexuality and the new right: the legacy of the 1980s for new delineations of homophobia. Sociological Research Online, 5(1),

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Publisher's URL: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/1/waites.html


This article addresses the relationship between the New Right and the politics of homosexuality in the United Kingdom. It begins by outlining recent political conflicts surrounding attempts to equalise the 'gay age of consent' and to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988). The article then examines the New Right's relationship to homosexuality in the 1980s, and the history of socio-political analyses of this relationship. It is argued that pro-gay left theorists have tended to homogenize the New Right of the 1980s, with negative consequences for the analysis of more recent right-wing transformations. The article suggests that contemporary right-wing campaigns against equalisation of the age of consent and abolition of Section 28 need to be understood as the product of a complex right-wing alliance between old-style Conservatism and new right-wing generations. The sexual values of William Hague and Michael Portillo are very different from those of Margaret Thatcher or Norman Tebbit. More mediated forms of homophobia have surfaced in recent campaigns, particularly in the defence of Section 28. New analytical tools are needed to map 'new delineations of homophobia' emerging in the political language of the right, operating within a new terrain of sexual politics. The conclusion suggests ways in which such a perspective could inform future sociological and political research agendas.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Homosexuality, new right, homophobia, Thatcherism
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waites, Dr Matthew
Authors: Waites, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Sociological Research Online
Publisher:Sociological Research Online
ISSN (Online):1360-7804
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