Sexual fashioning of transgressive selves among the Iranian Dutch younger generation
Oxford, UK : Mansfield College
InPersons & Sexuality, 8th Global Conference (2015): Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference, Abstracts
Persons & Sexuality, 8th Global Conference (2015): Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference, Oxford, Mansfield College, United Kingdom, 24-26 September 2015
Article in monograph or in proceedings
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Persons & Sexuality, 8th Global Conference (2015): Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference, Abstracts
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
As a minority group with an Islamic background the Iranian Dutch are known as 'well-integrated' citizens, based on their educational and occupational position in society. By taking a liberal stance on homosexuality, premarital sex and non-marital cohabitation, as currently contested topics in Dutch public debates on multiculturalism, a considerable number of them claims a 'modern' attitude. This paper considers a network of young Iranian Dutch who reject what they view as restrictive sexual norms imposed by the rest of the community and instead choose to fashion an ideal queer self. According to an Iranian Dutch dominant modernity discourse, romantic premarital sexual encounters, biologically-determined homosexuality and long-term committed non-marital cohabitation are acceptable. However, this young and highly educated group appropriates an alternative approach. Decoupling sex from romance, engaging in same-sex practices while rejecting homosexuality as an identity category and perceiving cohabitation as a potential form of sexual limitation, enables this group to negotiate with norms of intimacy. Analysing the deployment of sexuality as practices of self-fashioning based on ethnographic data gathered between 2010 and 2013, this paper illustrates how cultural boundary-crossing in this context is at times accompanied by normative articulations of gender. It questions the predominantly celebrative interpretation of the at-the-cutting-edge configurations of the intimate life and argues for an analytical framework that seeks to unravel socio-cultural embeddedness of notions of transgression. Furthermore, it contributes to the range of studied transgressive practices of intimacy at the start of the 21st century in which diasporic accounts are rather scarce.
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