Resisting Orientation:

On the Complexities of Desire

and the Limits of Identity Politics

Jamie Heckert

Sociology Ph.D.

The University of Edinburgh


This thesis is dedicated to my grandfather, Robert Wood,

who taught me to never trust government,

and to C Evans (1971 – 2004)

who gave me so much and was taken too soon.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements (html)

      a long, yet incomplete, list of folk who have influenced, inspired, and supported me and enabled this piece of work to be born


      a dense explanation of the thesis

I. Introduction

      opening the thesis by giving a bit of background on the idea of sexual orientation and why I wanted to think about it more

II. Identity and Difference in the Politics of Sexuality

      big questions in sexual politics including feminist debates about SM, queer politics, and citizenship

III. Anarchism, Poststructuralism and the Politics of Sexuality: 'Sexual Orientation' as State-Form

      anarchism, as theory in practice, offers a good tradition for rethinking sexual politics

IV. Intimacy with Strangers: Notes on Methodology

      what/how/why I did what I did, what I think it means and how it felt

V. Two Tales of Resistance

      two stories that particularly inspired my analysis

VI. Policing the Borders: Sexual State-Forms in Action

      how people are controlled, contained and policed through shame and violence

VII. Resisting Orientation: Explorations in Sexual Nomadism

      how policing can be resisted - stories of sex, labels, negotiating boundaries and more

VIII. Empowering Resistance

      ideas about what makes resistance feel possible

IX. Towards a World without Borders

      five pages long, doesn't use much jargon, and explains the key ideas of the thesis. it's quite punchy, too


      big list of books, magazines, novels, journal articles, songs, etc.

Appendices I-IV

      interview schedule (questions I asked more or less) &s; participant lists

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