Transgression and (sexual) citizenship: the political struggle for self-determination within BDSM communities

Darren Langdridge, Ofer Parchev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been–and continues to be–a tension within the political strategies of sexual minority communities claiming citizenship. Whilst attempting to forge a political self-determination based on being (dissident) sexual subjects, members of sexually diverse communities have frequently engaged in political practices that normalize their diversity to accord with wider socio-cultural conventions. In this article, we address this issue in relation to the political strategies of one of the most marginalized sexual identities/practices: BDSM. By drawing on the work of Foucault, Rose, Rabinow and Bahktin, we advance a case for how it may be possible for dissident sexual communities to resist the normalizing effects of citizenship whilst still making claims for legal recognition and wider social acknowledgment. Key to the argument is the theorization of a position wherein carnival transgression operates within a dialectical integration of ideology and utopia as a mode of citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-684
Number of pages18
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • BDSM
  • Sexual citizenship
  • belonging
  • carnival
  • transgression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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