University of Leicester
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Rethinking the origins of homonormativity: the diverse economies of rural gay life in England and Wales in the 1970s and 1980s

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-07-02, 08:43 authored by Gavin Brown
This paper rethinks the origins of contemporary homonormativity. Through an analysis of archival material from a rural lesbian and gay social movement from the 1970s, it questions the common link between homonormativity and urban neoliberalism. The Gay Rural Aid & Information Network (GRAIN) provided support to lesbians and gay men living in rural Britain and/or who were exploring the possibility of leaving the city for rural life. The network consisted of a heterogeneous mix of lesbian and gay environmentalists and ‘back-to-the-land’ enthusiasts, older lesbians and gay men who had retired to the countryside, and rural-based gay activists. Drawing on archival material relating to GRAIN, this paper traces the diverse economic practices engaged in by rural-based lesbians and gay men in this period. GRAIN members engaged in a complex mix of diverse economic practices and relations, both as a means towards their goal of living more ‘sustainably’ and in order to fit in to the changing post-productivist rural economy. By acknowledging the ambiguous sexual politics of this counter-cultural social movement, the paper questions theorizations of contemporary homonormativity which locate its origins solely in relation to neoliberal socio-economic relations and subjectivities.


The initial archival research was conducted during a sabbatical granted to the author by the University of Leicester



Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40 (4)

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Geography/Human Geography


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers


Wiley for Institute of British Geographers, Royal Geographical Society





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