Heteronormativity refers to a social method for arranging sexual status unequally. The study of heteronormativity inherits and builds on the legacy of Gayle Rubin (1984) and others who directed sexuality studies to study the cultural production of hierarchical sexualities. Rubin’s work extended Michel Foucault’s account of the invention of sexuality discourse within European sexual science (Foucault 1978). Rubin and Foucault teach that defining sexuality as a characteristic of types of people is the first act of a form of power that then conditions how sexualities become ranked along hierarchical lines. Sexuality thus refers not only to a way of taxonomizing persistent subjectivity but also to a technology for creating forms of knowledge, including self-knowledge.

This essay may be found on page 111 of the printed volume.

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