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Articulating a sociology of desire exceeding the normative shadows Overboe, James

Abstract

Drawing from the work of Deleuze and Guattari, this dissertation offers a new way of 'doing' and 'thinking about' sociology. Rather than concentrating upon sociological categories and identities, a sociology of desire focuses upon considering the flows of desires that emanate from people, bodies and things. Thus, subjectivity is not restricted to an essentialist self-contained person, but subjectivity consists of connections (assemblages) between people, animals and objects. Most people are restricted by what I term 'normative shadows' that suppress desires that do not conform to accepted norms. In this work I examine how to exceed these normative shadows through a sociology of desire. A sociology of desire could pragmatically be incorporated into the fields of sociology of the body, sociology of knowledge, sociology of health and illness, sociology of education, sociology of deviance. As well as offering an interesting take on disability by exceeding the dichotomy of ability and disability; a sociology of desire with its emphasis on singularity and machinic assemblages offers a new dynamism for disability studies. My use of the term exceed is not meant to signify a separation from various established sociological theories and methods rather it notes that a sociology of desire launches itself from these sociological understandings of the social world. While my main methodological approach is autobiographical, many different sensibilities have informed this dissertation. From a theoretical perspective this investigation has benefited from the insights of feminist theorists, theorists of racial inequality, scholars from disability studies, postcolonial theorists, cultural theorists, queer theorists, literary theorists, and poststructuralist theorists. Rather than approach this study through a singular methodology, I have drawn from a wide-range of sources, theories, and experiences. First-person accounts, third-person accounts, narrative descriptions, and theoretical investigations weave and intermingle throughout this dissertation. Such an approach does not exhaust this study, but rather it lays the groundwork for a continued analysis of the possibility for a sociology of desire.

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