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'Unnatural acts' Discourses of homosexuality within the House of Lords debates on gay male law reform.

Baker, Paul (2004) 'Unnatural acts' Discourses of homosexuality within the House of Lords debates on gay male law reform. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 8 (1). pp. 88-106. ISSN 1360-6441

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    Abstract

    Between 1998 and 2000, the House of Lords in the United Kingdom debated and rejected a Bill to equalise the age of sexual consent for gay men with the age of consent for heterosexual sex at sixteen years. A corpus‐based keywords analysis of these debates uncovered the main lexical differences between oppositional stances, and helped to shed light on the ways that discourses of homosexuality were constructed by the Lords. In the debates the word homosexual was associated with acts, whereas gay was linked to identities. Those who argued in favour of law reform focused on a discourse of equality and tolerance, while those who were against law reform constructed homosexuality by accessing discourses linking it to danger, ill health, crime and unnatural behaviour. The discussion focuses on the ways that discourses can be constructed via chains of argumentation.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sociolinguistics
    Additional Information: This is a pre-print of an article published in Journal of Sociolinguistics, 8 (1), 2004. (c) Wiley.
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Gay ; consent ; law ; corpus research ; parliament
    Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
    Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
    ID Code: 26238
    Deposited By: Dr Paul Baker
    Deposited On: 22 Apr 2009 13:00
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 16:30
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/26238

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