IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Sociology of Lesbian and Gay Reflexivity or Reflexive Sociology?


  • Brian Heaphy



This article is concerned with sociological conceptualisations of lesbian and gay sexualities as reflexive forms of existence, and identifies core problems with these. Our sociological narratives about lesbian and gay reflexivity tend to be partial in two senses. First, they talk about and envision only very particular - and relatively exclusive – experience, and fail to adequately account for the significance of difference and power in shaping diverse lesbian and gay experiences. Second, they tend to be underpinned by overly affirmative and normative projects, and are often narratives about how lesbian and gay life should be. Our narratives about lesbian and gay reflexivity sometimes confuse analysis with prescription, and actualities with potentialities. Their partiality limits the analytical purchase they afford, and is an inadequate basis on which to analyse contemporary lesbian and gay identities and ways of living. The article proposes an approach to studying lesbian and gay living that is orientated more towards reflexive sociology than the sociology of reflexive sexualities.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Heaphy, 2008. "The Sociology of Lesbian and Gay Reflexivity or Reflexive Sociology?," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 13(1), pages 1-9.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2007-60-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2007-60-2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Norris). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.