Sexual/Liberation addresses the paradoxes of sexual freedom in contemporary neoliberal Ireland. It invites readers to imagine a revolutionary form of sexual liberation beyond the present objective of achieving equality within a grossly unequal social order. Sexual/Liberation addresses the paradoxes of sexual freedom in contemporary neoliberal Ireland. It invites readers to imagine a revolutionary form of sexual liberation beyond the present objective of achieving equality within a grossly unequal social order. Centrally, the book offers a critical meditation on images of gay men circulating in post-marriage equality Irish culture. Such images tell us little about the actual lives of gay men but offer us considerable insight into the political imaginary – the values, norms, anxieties and contradictions – of the society in which those images circulate. The images of gay men, male bodies and male intimacy discussed are drawn from varied sources: Leo Varadkar’s media profile; digital portraits curated by men engaged in sex work; Irish Queer Archives; media, scholarly and artistic commemorations of Declan Flynn and Roger Casement; Joe Caslin’s murals. Taking inspiration from the ideas of Wendy Brown, Judith Butler and Herbert Marcuse, Sexual/Liberation encourages us to re-think the political as sexual – to reflect on how our political perspectives are shaped by desires, needs, vulnerabilities and hopes. Above all, this book challenges us to move beyond a politics of identities and injuries and strive instead for a politics universal and radically humanist in its imaginative scope, anti-capitalist and revolutionary in its objectives.
Michael G. Cronin is Lecturer in English at Maynooth University. He is the author of Impure Thoughts: sexuality, Catholicism and literature in twentieth-century Ireland (Manchester UP, 2013) and Revolutionary Bodies: homoeroticism and the political imagination in Irish writing (Manchester UP, 2022)
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