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Liket i garderoben: En studie av sexualitet, livsstil och begravning
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, Comparative Religion and Gender Studies.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Corpse in the Closet : sexuality, lifestyle and funerals (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis demonstrates and problematizes the work of the heteronormative surrounding the death of gay-identified men in Sweden in the 1980s. It does so by using the funeral as a lens through which to interrogate what happens when heteronormative institutions and cultural norms are confronted by gay deaths doubly stigmatised by the 'wrong' sexuality and Aids. The term funeral is employed in a broad sense to include rituals and events, such as planning, announcements, preparations, memorial services and burials. The empirical content consists of texts, pictures, and other documents, as well as interviews and case studies of specific funerals. Funerals are analysed with the help of ideas derived from thanatology and ritual studies as well as insights from queer theory. The thesis asks and answers questions such as: What happens when death, as a cultural construction, is confronted with ideas surrounding male homosexuality? What are the overarching norms made visible at the funerals? And how do funerals act to question or subvert these norms? My analysis focuses upon normative ideas about how life ought to be lived, what human relations matter and their implications for ideas and understandings surrounding loss and grief. The thesis shows that in a heteronormative culture a dead gay man does not count as a loss. Neither do same sex-relationships pass as real relationships. Consequently, gay lovers are not recognized as true mourners. Against this background of stigmatized homosexuality and its signification as non-life, non-relationship, non-family, and non-love, I analyze the funerals of open, self-identified gay men as strategies of re-signification. Three different struggles for recognition are identified: strategies of pride, shame, and normality, which are analyzed in relation to three different identity-constituting emotions: shame, love and melancholy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Normal Förlag AB , 2007.
Keyword [en]
heteronormativity, queer theory, queer, homosexuality, gays, AIDS, funeral rituals, death, aesthetics, ethics, structure of feeling, lifestyle, shame, love, melancholy, pride, camp
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6783ISBN: 978-91-85505-28-9OAI: diva2:197036
Public defence
2007-05-25, hörsal 4, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2007-05-04 Created: 2007-04-17Bibliographically approved

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