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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2011, Issue 212


Taking Queer Linguistics further: sociolinguistics and critical heteronormativity research

Heiko Motschenbacher
Published Online: 2011-11-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.2011.050


This article provides an overview of the young discipline of Queer Linguistics and discusses how it may be fruitfully applied in sociolinguistics as a contribution to critical heteronormativity research. After locating Queer Linguistics historically as a reaction to earlier essentialist approaches in the field of language and sexuality, its theoretical underpinnings are outlined. Queer Linguistics is not to be equalled with a “gay and lesbian” approach to language. It rather transfers ideas from Queer Theory to linguistic research, building on the integration of work by poststructuralist scholars such as Foucault, Butler and Derrida in order to provide a critical investigation of the discursive formation of heteronormativity. Three potential criticisms against Queer Linguistics as a poststructuralist approach are addressed: its supposedly low relevance, issues of political agency, and its alleged lack of empirical applicability. Finally, methodological suggestions are made as to how sociolinguists may proceed from a Queer Linguistic point of view, focusing on ethnographically oriented studies of local identity negotiation, critical approaches to Discourse Analysis and Contrastive Sociolinguistics.

Keywords:: Queer Linguistics; language and sexuality; poststructuralism; heteronormativity; methodology; language and gender

About the article

Published Online: 2011-11-04

Published in Print: 2011-11-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2011, Issue 212, Pages 149–179, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.2011.050.

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