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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

While categorization and indexicality have been a recurring theme in language and sexuality research, and forms of talk are understood as indexically related to social practices and categories in specific contexts, the dynamic character of categorization is less often acknowledged. Although few, if any, linguists would subscribe to an Aristotelian, static view of categorization, language and sexuality research has rarely engaged with the insights provided by prototype theory into linguistic categorization. This chapter intends to show that although categories are motivated, binding, and potentially wounding, they are flexible and subject to change, as are their indexical relations. Categorization is inevitable, but the specific categories we employ are historical constructs and thereby negotiable and redefinable. It is argued that understanding categorization and indexicality as dynamic can contribute to language and sexuality research, especially to the queer linguistic critique of categories with respect to the normative discourses sustaining them.

Keywords: categorization, indexicality, prototype theory, normative discourses, sexuality research

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