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The Study of LGBT Politics and Its Contributions to Political Science

  • Gary Mucciaroni (a1)

Extract

Although the study of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) politics appears to be widely accepted within political science, a recent survey of political scientists reported some skepticism about its legitimacy and scholarly worth (Novkov and Barclay 2010). This article examines potential concerns about LGBT studies and draws attention to the field's scholarly importance. The first part briefly addresses three objections to the study of LGBT politics that echo criticisms of the study and practice of identity politics. I argue that these objections do not withstand scrutiny, and that the case for studying the intersection of politics and sexuality within the discipline of political science is compelling. Sexuality and gender are fundamental aspects of human societies that reflect power relations and increasingly have become the object of public policy. The second part of the article examines the burgeoning literature on the politics of sexual orientation and identity. Beyond its intrinsic importance, LGBT politics contributes to a broader understanding of politics, power, social movements, public opinion, policymaking institutions, urban politics, and the relationship between science and public policy. Though not exhaustive, this review addresses many of the principal empirical and theoretical works in this area.

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