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Queering heteronormativity at home in London

This thesis offers a London-based contemporary study of sexuality at home. I draw from architectural history, feminist and queer theory as well as geographies of sexualities to interrogate the stability of domesticity. Highlighting everyday homemaking practices of more than 40 non-heterosexual households in London, I seek to complicate one overarching regime of power that dominates our cultural value system: heteronormativity – the idea that normative heterosexuality is the default sexuality to which everyone must conform or declare themselves against. The project is a response to three decades of academic research that has looked at the spatialised ways in which sexual identity unfolds in, for the most part, peripheral zones in the ‘Western’ metropolis, spaces beyond the domestic realm. This thesis takes a different architectural approach; one where through interviewing 47 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Londoners, as well as eleven domestic tradespeople that work in these homes, agency is given to small-scale domestic interventions and everyday actions. The concept of ‘queering’ is important to the framework, which, in the context of the thesis, is understood as an on-going process that LGBTQ people are engaged in through homemaking and daily living. Although some participants may not see this as a political act, I argue otherwise and suggest queering at home is a form of political activism. Through mundane domestic actions the overarching structure of heteronormativity might be challenged. I contend that queering the home unfolds in various, complex and conflicting ways. The thesis seeks to provoke both queer theory and politics, by opening up existing approaches and remits to allow room for a domestic method. In addition, the thesis seeks to challenge assumptions within architecture but also in the wider sense. I aim to break down stereotypes surrounding non-heterosexual homemaking practices that architectural studies and media representations problematically reproduce.
CreatorsPilkey, B. S.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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