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Saving schools from abomination and abnormal sex : a discourse analysis of online public commentary about 'queering' school spaces

Peter Lang Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • 200205 Culture Gender Sexuality
  • 130308 Gender Sexuality And Education
  • Homophobia
  • School
  • Youth
  • Hate Speech
  • Gay
  • Online Commentary
  • Queer Theory
  • Law
  • Social Sciences


Homophobic hatred: these words summarise online commentary made by people in support of a school that banned gay students from taking their same sex partners to a school formal. With the growing popularity of online news sites, it seems appropriate to critically examine how these sites are becoming a new arena in which people can express personal opinions about controversial topics. While commentators equally expressed two dominant viewpoints about the school ban (homophobic hatred and human rights), this paper focuses on homophobic hatred as a discursive position and how the comments work to confirm the legitimacy of the schools’ decision. Drawing on the work of Foucault and others, the paper examines how the comments constitute certain types of subjectivity drawing on dominant ideas about what it means to be homophobic. The analysis demonstrates the complex and competing skein of strategies that constitute queering school social spaces as a social problem.

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