Sexing the Economy in a Neo-Liberal World Order: Neo-Liberal Discourse and the (Re)Production of Heteronormative Heterosexuality


Griffin, Penny. 2007. “Sexing the Economy in a Neo-Liberal World Order: Neo-Liberal Discourse and the (Re)Production of Heteronormative Heterosexuality.” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9 (2): 220-38.

Author: Penny Griffin


Sex and gender are not merely incidental to the formation and perpetuation of neo-liberal discourse, they are absolutely central to it. I explore how neo-liberal discourse is predicated on a politics of heteronormativity that (re)produces the dominance of normative heterosexuality. The World Bank is an excellent example of this, reproducing a heteronormative discourse of economic viability through policy interventions that are intrinsically sexualized, that is, predicated on a politics of normative heterosexuality. Bank discourse, although articulated as value-neutral, 'straightens' development by creating and sustaining policies and practices that are tacitly, but not explicitly, formulated according to gendered hierarchies of meaning, representation and identity. Thus, one effect of contemporary neo-liberalism's inherent heteronormativity is to associate successful human behavior almost exclusively with a gender identity embodied in dominant forms of heterosexual masculinity.

Topics: Development, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, LGBTQ, Sexuality

Year: 2007

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