Sexing the city : lesbian and gay municipal politics 1979-87
Cooper, Davina (1992) Sexing the city : lesbian and gay municipal politics 1979-87. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1410962~S15
This thesis explores the relationship between local government and
social change strategies. More specifically, it examines the series of
highly contested attempts during the 1980s to deploy local government
in order to challenge the discrimination and prejudice facing lesbians
and gay men. Whilst, much of the effort was directed at making council
services more responsive to lesbian and gay needs, a key aspect of the
project concerned the transformation of dominant sexual meanings.
Four questions provide a theoretical and empirical framework for
this research. First, why did some local authorities address lesbian
and gay issues? Second, how successful were they in doing so? Third,
what factors constrained or limited their attempts? And fourth, why
were lesbian and gay municipal initiatives so controversial?
The first section of this thesis examines the reconstitution of
lesbian and gay issues on the local government agenda, and the
subsequent trajectory of their development within particular
authorities. The thesis then goes on to examine the impact of
bureaucratic processes and right-wing opposition on lesbian and gay
municipal discourses. I argue that despite significant opposition to
lesbian and gay policies, in general the right did not mobilise. The
ideological steer within local government bureaucracy was usually
sufficient to 'weed out' or dilute more progressive proposals. However,
on occasions where this broke down, opposing forces intervened, both to
obstruct lesbian and gay initiatives and to use the policies' existence
to advance their own political agenda.
The final part of this thesis draws together several key issues: the
general absence of a more radical sexual politics; the crisis of
implementation; the nature of opponents' attitudes towards
homosexuality and local government; and the decline of lesbian and gay
municipal politics post-1987. In the conclusion, I return to the
question of local government's radical potential by proposing an
alternative, decentred approach to municipal sexual politics.
Methodologically, this thesis is eclectic drawing on several
disciplinary areas in conjunction with a range of theoretical
perspectives, particularly neo-marxism, feminism and poststructuralism.
Field research comprises of interviews, mass media and
local government documentation combined with my own experiences as an
actor within the municipal lesbian and gay project.
This thesis is intended to make a contribution to a theoretical
understanding of municipal politics, especially to the relationship
between local government, sexuality, ideology and social change. it
also offers a detailed account and analysis of lesbian and gay
municipal developments, one of the most controversial initiatives of
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Homosexuality -- Political aspects -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century, Local government -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century, Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1979-1997|
|Official Date:||May 1992|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||School of Law|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Stewart, Ann ; Lovell, Terry|
|Sponsors:||Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)|
|Extent:||ix, 348 leaves|
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