In the light of the emergence and further expansion of the paradigm of sexual citizenship on a global scale, the essay poses a set of critical questions on the translation of gender and sexual freedom ideals into rights-claims. The essay asks: what are the conditions that a subject has to comply with in order to count as a political sexual agent? And how does sexuality have to be configured in order to become an entitlement of such a subject? In order to pursue this reflection, the essay follows a feminist-queer critical perspective and the postcolonial critique of sexuality and citizenship. The essay argues that within the framework of sexual citizenship, sexual politics are destined to operate with a racialised notion of sexuality, and undercut sexuality as a relational phenomenon. Against this limited version of sexual politics, the essay finally draws on Judith Butler’s reading of Jean Laplanche’s theory of seduction and Foucault’s ethics of the self, to put forward a relational notion of ethical-political sexual agency as an alternative to exclusionary articulations of sexual politics.
Discussants of the workshop: