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Title: Une phobie franco-française : the making of modern France through homophobic discourse
Author: Kiely, Jack David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 0996
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the intersections between homophobia, racism and national identity in modern France. It takes as a nodal point the discourses of the mass opposition to the Socialist government's gay marriage bill from late 2012 onwards. The opponents of the law couched their arguments in peculiarly French heteronormative and heterosexist concepts of the family that hid an unspoken fear of homosexuality that is homophobia. They saw themselves as defending the future of the nation and deployed a multitude of symbols of French identity, culture, and history. The discourses that emerged in 2012-2013 were also a reflection of those of the PaCS debates of 1998-1999, and of the homophobia of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Moreover, they reflected a "national identity crisis" that began to emerge from the point of François Mitterrand's election in 1981 and then in particular after 1989. This saw the rise of a new nationalism based principally, but not exclusively, in the ideals of the Republic along the lines of the mythic French exception. I argue, therefore, that homophobia is a sine qua non of French national identity or the driving force behind the salience of the national. The discourse of the exceptionality of French national identity is then translated into the very definition of homophobia, or a phobie franco-française, towards the making of modern France. By giving a "reading-in-reverse" of this recent French history, I also demonstrate how homophobia is constructed as an ethnocentric, racialising discourse, concomitant with the descent into racism proper during the demonstrations against gay marriage. Finally, both the opponents and proponents of gay marriage also sought not only to evoke but to re-write the past in the present, to secure the future of the nation. In doing so, they opened up a discursive space for what I define as queer and queerer temporalities of homophobia and racism, and for the return of queer itself to the insult.
Supervisor: Agar, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available