Resisting Orientation:

On the Complexities of Desire

and the Limits of Identity Politics

Jamie Heckert

Sociology Ph.D.

The University of Edinburgh



While, in one sense, I am the sole author of this work, both 'I' and 'this work' are the effects of numerous social practices and relationships. I cannot do justice to all of the people who have directly supported and encouraged me, enabling me to complete this Ph.D., much less the people who are economically coerced into doing less fulfilling work while only a few of us have the privilege of doing something we really want to do. In this case, that is spending years reading, thinking, talking, listening, writing and playing. Nor, can I possibly acknowledge all of the people involved in the work/play of social movement that has inspired my research and sustained me through these long years. But, some people I can acknowledge.

First of all, I thank my parents for encouraging me to do my own thing, even when it meant moving to another country. I thank my mother for her open mind and my father for his quiet pride. And thanks to my brother and sister for their support over the years. I want to acknowledge those teachers who took the time to nurture my intellect, and who helped me survive the school years: Ms. Mather, Mrs. Johnson, Deb Sykes, Alan Peterson, John Jamieson, Kathy Kapitan,and Jacqueline Stelter. Thanks to my best school friend Monica for encouraging my rebellion, for standing by me and for being the first person I could trust with 'my deep, dark secret'. To all the folk at Laurens Public Library, especially Pat and Joyce for encouraging me to question. To Lynn Morris for the coaching and the support. A special thank you to the inspiring lecturers at Grinnell College, especially the women who encouraged me to pursue gender studies: Johanna Meehan, Ana Martinez, Kathy McKnight & Sylvia Thorson-Smith. And, I never would have survived Grinnell, much less made it to do a Ph.D., if not for the inspiration of an amazing network of fellow students, including Barry, Morgen, Laura, Charlie & Sam; Anne, Bill, Blade, Loki, Mike, Janann, Fir, Geoff, Erica, Kathy, Leif and others at the Back Table; Joni & Garth; Nicholas, Dave & Kate; Jeremy & Dave; Jeremy, Gabe, Phoebe, several Sarahs, and all the other nice LGBTQQS etc. folk, back when I did labels; Kathryn, Em, Jen and the other pagans; all the midnight jugglers, especially Tina, Toby, Ryan, Amos and Jonathan; and so many others, especially Kathleen, Geoff and Sarah who have stayed in touch and continue to remain good friends. Thanks Lon, Dawn, Tina and Troy for bipolypagan inspiration; and Talia, Alyx & Nada for showing that triads can work. To C & Darryn I owe more than I can ever acknowledge. They provided a warm and loving haven when I needed one. I want to thank all of the people at Stirling University who made me stay there so enjoyable that I kept coming back to Scotland, including: Micah, Catriona, Mark, Vida, Greg, Anton, Ivan & Gordon. Thank you. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kerstin Phillips for trusting me, and to all of the other amazing people who I've worked with educating teenagers about sex, especially Michael, Ben, Alan, Joan, Iain, Helen, Nicky, Mike, Doug, Elspeth, Jane & Naomi. Also, the teenagers who laughed, talked, listened and learned also taught me a lot about life were an inspiration for this research. Thank you to those who were also struggling through postgraduate studies at Edinburgh Uni who've helped me get through it, especially: Gill, Iain, Irene, Hugo, Katharine, Jane, Aaron, Salla, Dan, Tom, Ruth, Madeleine, Mike, Isabel, Monica, Ange & James. A thanks to the tutorial students who challenged me, and made me learn while I taught. I thank Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen for encouraging me to develop an anarchist analysis of my MSc research for their book, and for their tireless editorial helped in getting it into shape; and to Alex and Kev for their support on the greenpepper article. To them, and to all of the participants in the Edinburgh Anarchist Studies Group and the anarchist.academics network, without you I never would have been brave enough to develop an anarchist framework for my research. Likewise, to those I have worked with on various anarchic projects, thank you for the inspiration and hard work, especially Darren, Lex, Simon, Mike, Cloudberry, Scott, Micah, Anita, Harry, Kavita, Nina, Miguel & Melanie. Thanks to all the folk who made Queeruption IV an amazing experience; especially Grant and Elizabeth for performing with me. A huge thanks to those who selflessly proofread chapters: Darren, Sarah, Mark N, Bethan, Mark W, Kristine, Helen, Nina, Elizabeth, Alison, Nine, Sylvia, Tam & especially Simon for taking on four of them. Kathleen, you saved my life. Thank you Lynn Jamieson, Mo Rahman and Stan Raffel for stimulating discussions, words of reassurance, lunches and other supervisorial gifts. A thank you goes to the nice people at the Disability Office for giving me a computer and speech recognition software so I could actually write my thesis, and the workers at Dragon who made the software. Margaret Robertson, thank you for transcribing all of the interviews. Thanks to Caz, Pam and Greg for putting me up for research trips and conferences. Thanks to all of the people who've asked challenging questions at conferences. Thanks Kevin and Tomaz for inviting me to speak at your events. Thanks, Sue Renton, for all the love, laughs and bureacracy survival support. To the 16 people who shared some of the most intimate stories with me, thank you. Not only have you enabled me to do this research, but you have inspired me as well. Thank you Anita, for loaning me your Ani DiFranco collection to help me through the final days of writing, and Ben for walks along the river. To Darren, for being a loving friend; to Ange for listening; to Iain for understanding; to Paul M for being wonderful; to Nick for being open; to Gill for changing the past; to Irene and Lex for giving me a kick up the arse; to Liz and Fiona for helping me explore; to Simon for smiling; to Geoff for laughing; to Sarah for saying, 'oh, sweetie'; to Sam for his quiet strength; to Hamish for the REM cd, a painful-but-highly-paid job and so much more; and everyone else who has ever been kind to me: thank you.

And finally, for all of the emotional, bodily, material, and existential support, love and, especially toward the end, sufferance, thank you Paul. Neither this Ph.D. nor the person I am now would have existed without you.

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