'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: Journal 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: /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/libraryofcongress/pe
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 26238
Deposited By: Dr Paul Baker
Deposited On: 22 Apr 2009 12:00
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2019 23:37
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/26238

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