Sexual Citizenship by David Evans

By David Evans

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D’Emilio (1983a, b) has pursued such arguments, but in a slightly different sense. He claims that capitalism’s requirement for differentiated free wage labour is directly linked to the sexualisation of modern societies in that free labour is potentially and symbolically as free morally and sexually as it is economically, politically and legally. For him the fundamental contradiction between capitalism and the family, partially manifest in the specific instance of lower female wage labour 40 SEXUAL CITIZENSHIP value, has become a general channel of material sexual discourse.

However, whilst Simon and Gagnon and Plummer clearly demonstrate their awareness of the problem, neither can, through symbolic interactionism’s implicit ahistoricism, provide a satisfactory solution. Superficially interactionist ‘scripting theory’ appears potentially compatible with Foucault’s thesis, for even ontogenic significance, it could be claimed, is found within the adoption of microscopic fragments of sexual power/knowledge, and at face value both Foucauldian and interactionist analyses are primarily concerned with micrological aspects of power.

Racialised class fractions’ (Miles 1982) that labour types differ in value, and that their values, qualitative and quantitative, are institutionalised within citizenship machineries, so that the political and social unity of labour is fragmented. The development of women’s civil, political and social rights testifies to their progressive emergence as free labour, different and of less value to that of men. Of course they testify too to the struggles and conflicts fought at the work-place and through the state to alleviate exploitation, win freedoms, enhance protective legislation and maximise welfare support, for state citizenship principles and practices have become a major site of displaced struggles over the qualitative and quantitative requirements of capitalism (Gordon 1976).

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