Affective Bonds between Women in Lesotho: Retheorizing Gender, Sexuality, and Lesbian Existence

  • William J. Spurlin


In the previous chapter, I acknowledged how the dominant body of historical research on same-sex relations among indigenous miners, within the system of South African migrant labor, is able to mark the ways in which the relationships are constructed differently from articulated and enacted desires between men in the West. I argued that the marriages between African men who worked on the South African gold mines need to be historically bracketed and not simply “recovered from history” through an analysis of such interrelated systems of domination as racism, capitalism under apartheid, and migrant labor. Yet, while the two major studies on the mine marriages (Moodie and Harries) accomplish this, the axis of desire remains overridden by other systems of domination, and the marriages themselves seem too facilely reinscribed into hetero-normative social relations without sufficiently analyzing them as a new space of desire that potentially subverts heterosexual hegemony. On the other hand, while queer studies may provide a useful analytic tool to address this significant gap, it cannot go so far as to produce “postcolonial queer” as a new category, since this would set up a problematic self/other split between the developed and developing world, that is, in this case, between the West and Africa.


Sexual Agency Domestic Sphere Affective Bond Heterosexual Marriage Fictive Kinship 
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Copyright information

© William J. Spurlin 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Spurlin
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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