Wednesday, May 02, 2018

"Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Keeping Russia Closeted": dissertation from Finland

I found a thesis online from a Finnish university of Tampere, “Out of Sight, Out of Kind: Keeping Russia Closeted: A Biopolitical Analysis of Non-Normative Sexualities in Russia”, by John Cai Benjamin Weaver, link here  (84 pages plus notes). 
The first word of the text is “Tcaikovsky”.  The author gives the history of anti-gay laws in the Soviet Union, their relaxation under Yeltsin in Russia in 1993, and then the 2013 “anti-propaganda” law, which had been preceded by some local laws like in St. Petersburg.

The author structures his argument around Michel Foucault’s theories of “biopolitics” and social control.

While Putin maintains he is not homophobic and has no problems with homosexual activity in private, Russia is very concerned with the inclusion of homosexuality and gender fluidity in public spaces, because it believes that, if presented as acceptable, people will have fewer children. The policy is designated to deal with the supposed collective well being of the Russian “nation”, but not with individual people.

Curiously, Russia has little concern with closeted homosexuality in its military, since Russia has a 12-month period of conscription.

Most of Russia's anti-gay sentiment comes from acceptance of propaganda as an important force in shaping society, with little respect for the potential of the individual for critical thinking (and Putin says he has to protect children).  It also comes from a desire to distinguish Russia from the West. 

But Russia is in demographic decline both because of low birth rate and poor life expectancy.  

The latter part of the thesis describes the surveys used and actual results.

By Cryonic07 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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