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Politics of sexuality in neoliberal(ized) times and spaces: LGBT movements and reparative therapy in contemporary Poland

Mikulak, Magdalena (2017) Politics of sexuality in neoliberal(ized) times and spaces: LGBT movements and reparative therapy in contemporary Poland. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.6pv8ey9vxc10


Research on the politics of sexuality and the LGBT movement in contemporary Poland tends to overlook the larger socio-economic changes that affect them. Omitting these processes from studies of sexuality, given the profound transformations occurring in Poland over the last two to three decades, produces incomplete accounts. This study builds on the existing knowledge of the politics of sexuality in contemporary Poland and extends it by addressing the question of whether and how processes of neoliberalization matter and how differences of class, gender, and location position subjects differently within the landscape of politics of sexuality. Through a mixed qualitative approach, combining content and discourse analysis with semi-structured in-depth interviews, this project addresses existing empirical and theoretical research gaps. Empirically, it engages with the LGBT movement in general, focusing on two largely unstudied phenomena: Christian LGBT organizing – as exemplified by Wiara i Tęcza (WiT, Faith and Rainbow) – and religiously motivated sexual reorientation therapy, also known as Reparative Therapy (RT). Theoretically, this study explores how processes of neoliberalization collude with existing patriarchal regimes shaping individual subjectivities, but also affecting the kind of politics that are possible both locally and globally. Drawing on the literature on sexuality and capitalism I argue that WiT’s project is best understood through what I term godly homonormativity. My analysis of RT is informed by the literature on psychotherapeutics and how these align with neoliberal ideas of personhood but moving beyond the individual level, I argue that RT should be understood as commodification of homophobia and it must be analyzed in relation to the neoliberal framework that enables it. Finally, I demonstrate that LGBT organizing and RT are classed, localized and gendered and argue that these complex intersections can only be understood by linking them back to the material conditions in which they are produced.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Magdalena Mikulak
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Supervisor: Plomien, Ania

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