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Queer in Russia : a story of sex, self, and the other
Essig, Laurie.
Adult Nonfiction HQ76.3.R8 E85 1999

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Drawing on the conventions of postmodern critical theory and cultural studies, sociologist and journalist Essig investigates issues of sexual identity and community in the former Soviet Union. Her brief overview of Russian attitudes toward same-sex activity reveals that laws criminalizing homosexual behavior were passed in 1716, repealed by the Bolsheviks, reinstated by Stalin and abolished again in 1993, and that jail or psychiatric institutionalization were not uncommon penalties. Essig's broader project is to reveal how the very concepts of "law," "cure" and "sexual identity" are constructed generally and in Russia. Using the theoretical work of Foucault, Judith Butler, Jrgen Habermas and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as personal interviews and reportage on the activities of gay social and political groups, Essig paints an engaging and perceptive portrait of a community emerging from the underground and struggling to define itself. She is adroit at discussing how the globalization of Western gay identity is received in post-Soviet Russian culture, particularly how the concept of "coming out" is difficult in a society in which any "public self-confession" has been politically dangerous. While Essig has the unflinching eyes and ears of a seasoned reporter, the book's deep grounding in theory may diminish its appeal for some readers. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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