Antu Sorainen, Helsingfors, presenterar under en gästföreläsning vid forskarseminariet i etnologi sin artikel under publicering: ”Gay Back Alley Tolstoys”.
"This paper discusses the ways that inheritance systems may support gay support web constellations. Based on long-term observations of the intimate relations of four Helsinki ‘off-the-centre’ gay men, it investigates how dominant legal and cultural commitments to kinship relate to gay redesigns of care bonds in a diminishing welfare state. The shifting ‘kin relations’ of the four main gay male protagonists – ‘Gay Back Alley Tolstoys’ – mirror some of the shifting contexts of (queer) knowledge, connecting and ‘being’ that the paper seeks to elucidate.
Drawing on Strathern’s work on relationality, wholes and parts, the chapter discusses how urban gay ties in margins rely on tensions between constant everyday re-imaginations between legal, social, political and cultural categorizations. In this, kin diagrams are mobilised as a queer device for the critique of producing, practising and providing knowledge of such care relations that are otherwise not easily recognised or articulated in theory or society. In this way, gay lives are approached from the perspective of social practices and cultural identifications rather than only from sex."
Antu Sorainen, PhD, is an Academy Fellow, Research Director and Docent in Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki. She wrote a book on lesbian trials in rural 1950s Finland, and co-authored an anthology on the conceptual history of Sittlichkeit.
Antu is a director of the research team “CoreKin – Contrasting and Re-Imagining Margins of Kinship” (2016-2020), hold Academy Fellowship for the research project “Wills and Inheritance Practices in Sexually Marginalised Groups” (2014-2019), worked for the Swedish Research Project on Queer(ying Kinship on the Baltic Region (2015-2017, funded by Östersjöfundet at the Södertörn University), and is starting a new 3-year research on Protolesbian Personal Lives and the Nationalist Sentiment in the 1920s-1930s Finland (funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, 2010-2021).