Making Queer Anti-capitalist Resistance Intelligible: Reading Queer Childhood in the Ruins of Neoliberalism
Tanyildiz, Gökbörü Sarp
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In challenging normative social relations, queer cultural studies has shied away from deploying historical materialist theoretical tools. My research addresses this gap by drawing these two literatures into conversation. I do so by investigating how global economic relations provide an allegorical and material context for the regulation, representation and re-imagining of working-class queer childhood through anti- capitalist queer readings of three films: Kes, Billy Elliot, and Boys Village. I deploy this reading practice to investigate how these films represent heteronormative capitalism’s systematic extermination of the life possibilities of working class children, how children resist forces of normalisation by creating queer times and spaces, and how nostalgia engenders a spatio-temporal understanding of queerness through a radical utopianism. My analysis foregrounds visual cultural productions as sites for understanding how contemporary social worlds exclude queer working class children, who struggle to insert themselves into and thereby shift the grounds of normative social relations.