Language, normativity and power

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The present paper aims to shed light on how social actors orient to sexual normativity in their talk. It relates normativity to (Foucauldian) notions of discourse and power, arguing that local linguistic negotiations of sexuality are generally shaped by a competition between dominant and marginalized discourses. The empirical section focusses on how sexual normativity is linguistically constructed in conversations related to objectophilia, a form of sexual desire that is clearly non-normative. The data consists of telephone calls from the German radio phone-in show Domian. It is shown how speakers co-construct sexual normativity in general as well as more specific forms of it such as humano-normativity and heteronormativity. It can be seen that even the construction of non-normative desires is predominantly structured by normative sexuality discourses.


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