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Queer Ascesis and the Invention of New Games

  • Jonathan KempEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Queer Studies and Education book series (QSTED)

Abstract

The promotion of marriage as the definition or pinnacle of intimacy inevitably diminishes the value—both social and epistemological—of other forms of intimacy, such as friendship. Marriage, as a legal contract, administers population: a form of what Foucault called biopower and a discourse deployed to contain and manage society. As such, gay marriage, as well as a victory of equality, is also a victory of conformity, of biopower. It consolidates, by extending, the framework of the status quo, assimilating one of the biggest threats to heteronormativity: same-sex love. At the same time, given that most successful marriages are, on a deep level, friendships, gay marriage also affirms queer friendship. But it does so within the rubric of the status quo, and as such is an expression of the mind-set that marriage is the most significant relationship into which two people—regardless of gender and sexual orientation—can enter. Is gay marriage a foreclosing of homosexuality’s radical potential to alter the relational map of contemporary society? Has our equality come through a conformity that shuts down alternative modes of being and relating as queers? This chapter engages with Foucault’s thoughts on friendship and askesis in relation to these questions, before turning to the notion of queer pedagogy. Foucault takes as his primary example of queer askesis the relationship between two men of radically different ages and asks what code would allow them to communicate? Perhaps queer pedagogy holds the answer.

Keywords

Friendship Gay marriage Queer 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

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