- The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology
- Introduction: Cultural Sociology Today
- Cultural Sociology as Research Program: Post-Positivism, Meaning, and Causality
- Rationalization Processes inside Cultural Sociology
- Four Ways to Measure Culture: Social Science, Hermeneutics, and the Cultural Turn
- Culture and the Economy
- Culture and Economic Life
- From Moral Sentiments to Civic Engagement: Sociological Analysis as Responsible Spectatorship
- Reinventing the Concept of Civic Culture
- Cultural Sociology and Civil Society in a World of Flows: Recapturing Ambiguity, Hybridity, and the Political
- Mediatized Disasters in the Global Age: On the Ritualization of Catastrophe
- Media, Intellectuals, the Public Sphere, and the Story of Barack Obama in 2008
- Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere
- Rethinking the Relationship of African American Men to the Street
- Ethnicity, Race, Nationhood, Foreignness, and Many Other Things: Prolegomena to a Cultural Sociology of Difference-Based Interactions
- Burning Schools/Building Bridges: Ethnographical Touchdowns in the Civil Sphere
- The Constitution of Religious Political Violence: Institution, Culture, and Power
- Globalization and Religion
- Narrative and Social Movements
- The Politics of Authenticity: Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization
- Rethinking Conflict and Collective Memory: The Case of Nanking
- Cultural Trauma: Emotion and Narration
- Remembrance of Things Past: Cultural Trauma, the “Nanking Massacre,” and Chinese Identity
- Events as Templates of Possibility: An Analytic Typology of Political Facts
- Cultural Pragmatics and the Structure and Flow of Democratic Politics
- Consumption as Cultural Interpretation: Taste, Performativity, and Navigating the Forest of Objects
- The Force of Embodiment: Violence and Altruism in Cultures of Practice
- Music Sociology in a New Key
- Narrating Global Warming
- Broadening Cultural Sociology's Scope: Meaning-Making in Mundane Organizational Life
- Inbetweenness and Ambivalence
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the politics of authenticity by focusing on civic individualism and the cultural roots of gay normalization. It introduces the notion of a “cultural code” to understand something of the cultural grounds of postwar gay and lesbian politics and argues that “civic individualism” has been a dominant cultural code in contemporary America. The article begins with a discussion of the founding moment in the gay and lesbian movement: the appearance of the first national political organizations in the 1950s. It then considers the emergence of gay liberationism in the late 1960s and early 1970s that challenged the American culture of civic individualism. It also looks at the rise of a politics of mainstreaming for lesbians and gays during the 1970s and 1980s as well as the triumph of the politics of virtue for the movement during the 1990s.
Steven Seidman is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of, among other books, Romantic Longings: Love in America, 1830–1980 (Routledge, 1991), Embattled Eros: Sexual Politics and Ethics in America (Routledge, 1992), Difference Troubles: Queering Social Theory and Sexual Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1997), Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life (Routledge, 2002), and The Social Construction of Sexuality, Second Edition (W.W. Norton, 2010). He is co-editor of Social Postmodernism: Beyond Identity Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1995), editor of Queer Theory/Sociology (Blackwell, 1996), co-editor of Handbook of Lesbian & Gay Studies (Sage, 2002), and co-editor of Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays and Interviews (Routledge, 2006).
Chet Meeks was Assistant Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University before his untimely death in 2008. His research and teaching interests included contemporary social theory, sexuality studies, and cultural sociology. His publications included co-authoring (with Steven Seidman and Francie Traschen) the article “Beyond the Closet? The Changing Social Meaning of Homosexuality in the United States” in Sexualities (1999, Vol. 2, No. 1), the article “Civil Society and the Sexual Politics of Difference” in Sociological Theory (2001, Vol. 19, No. 3), and co-editing Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays and Interviews (Routledge, 2006).
James Joseph Dean is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University. His research focuses on the sociology of sexualities, particularly the sociology of heterosexualities. Recent publications include an article analyzing cultural shifts in gay, lesbian, and queer films in Sexualities (2007, Vol. 10, No. 3) and a book chapter on intersectionality, sexualities, and the politics of multiple identities in Theorising Intersections: Sexual Advances edited by Yvette Taylor, Sally Hines, and Mark Casey (Palgrave 2010). Currently, he is completing a book manuscript that explores the gendered and racial character of heterosexual identities in the context of lesbian and gay visibility.
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