Prerna: “A Queer Encounter: Sociology and the Study of Sexuality”- Steven Epstein

Epstein, Steven. “A Queer Encounter: Sociology and the Study of Sexuality.” Sociological Theory 12.2 (1994): 188-202. Web. 9 June 2016
The author here focuses on the “social constructions of sexuality” ( Epstein 188) and seeks to establish as to how certain modes of sexuality get naturalized.  Being a sociologist, he laments the lack of interest sociology has taken in matters of sexual identification whilst asserting that “human sexuality was ‘always already’ social in its organisation and manifestations.” ( Epstein 190)
The essay suggests that a queer identity is formed not so much via the means of homosexual activity but rather by being labelled as such. However the author fails to elaborate as to why would one ascribe to such identities? A meager answer is managed when he points towards ‘internalization’, but that does not seem very fulfilling. The notion of identity politics cannot be reduced to this degree.
Furthermore, the essay also alludes to Foucault’s History of Sexuality where in he has suggested that sexual categories and the ones which are deemed to be ‘natural’ emerge out of various permutations and combinations of power and knowledge.
Ultimately, the author by quoting Teresa de Lauretis, defines the usage of the term queer as something which is at a distance from the more convenient sexual categories of lesbian and gay.

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