Queer in Europe A Book Review to be published in Sexualities: Vol 15 No5/6 September 2012 Robert Kulpa & Joanna Mizielinksa eds De-Centering Western Sexualities: Central and European Perspectives 2011 Ashgate ISBN 978-1-4094-0242-8 Price £60.00 hb. Lisa Downing & Robert Gillett eds Queer In Europe 2011 Ashgate ISBN 978-1-4094-0464-4 Price £55.00 hb. The challenge to…
Imagining Better Worlds For All : Opening Imageries and Poetics
Over the coming weeks I am hoping to put together some short pieces about a better world.
I have for some time been concerned about the failures of the modern world and our endless critique of it.We need some sense of a positive future thinking.
Although I am no simple utopian, I do like the idea of ‘thinking forward’ – of Dreaming of a Better Social World for All.
Something has gone terribly wrong with our current values of markets and money.
The following captures a little of what I think. It was presented at my British Sociological Presidential Lecture at the British Museum in October 2011.
I am against a world riddled with the values of the market place
I need Cosmopolitan Hope – a dreaming forward-
in a world of often unbearable darkness.
I need Wisdom – experience and science ands art-
in a world of chaotic complexity.
I need Empathy- my bridge to the others –
in a world of monologic terrorism.
I need a Human Flourishing – a potential developed for all-
in a world of wasted lives.
I need Social Justice for all- a fairness and freedom and equality-
in a world ruled without justice
I need Meliorism – those practical actions
which will make the world a better place.
Above all: recall the golden rule:
Treat others as you would be done by.
And Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.
Table: Dreaming of a Better Social World: In Defence of Social Values over Economic and Nationalistic Values (in process)
|Feature of Society and People to be developed||Value||Literature||‘Enemies’ to question & challenge|
|Hope; Melioration; Progress||Progress; cautious optimism||Science Fiction
|Role taking, empathy & dialogue||Sympathy||The Empathic Society; Dialogic ethics, Recognition theory,||Monologic Terrorism; lack of empathy; a certain blindness in human beings|
|Altruism – concern with others||Compassion, kindness & care||Feminist Care TheoryThe Compassionate Temperament||CrueltyViolenceSelfishness|
|Justice, Democracy and Social Rights||Fairness, Freedom, Equality||The Philosophies of Justice and Human Rights||Authoritarianism; Tyranny of others, Elitism, Scapegoating, Bullying….Slavery, the Unfree, Unjust. Unequal
|Human Flourishing||‘The Good Life’ & ‘The Virtues’||Human Capability Theory with Rights and Flourishing||Neglect, ExploitationDenial of opportunities,Incapacitation. Societies based on economic values centrally.|
|Cosmopolitanism||Acceptance of differences||Cosmopolitan theory/ Difference theory||NarrownessEthnocentrism|
|Humanitarianism||Societies based on caring for the others||The Humanitarian Society||Cruel, violent, genocidal societies|
|Wisdom||Experience– both historical and personal;Science – both hard and soft;Imagination – both limited and unlimited||Confucius and all the ‘wise thinkers across cultures and throughout history||Folly , Stupidity (which is not the same as ignorance); Blind science, blind rationality.|
- The Hopeful Society
- The Empathic Society
- The Kind, Compassionate Society
- The Just and Rights Society
- The Flourishing for all Society
- The Wise Society
- The Humanitarian Society
Way , way back in the early 1960’s I was a little gay boy coming out in a world where homosexuality in the UK was crime, disease and sadness. I did not stand a chance!
But slowly over the past fifty years the world – in the U.K. at least- has indeed changed out of recognition in this area. I have lived as a happy out homosexual more or less since 1966. Several people helped me in my coming out- and Anthony Grey is one of them.
In Memoriam: Anthony Grey (1922-2004)
Antony Grey was the pseudonym of Anthony Edgar Gartside Wright. In 1958, Grey starting voluntary work for the Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS). He became the Society’s Honorary Treasurer in 1960 and its Secretary by the end of 1962. I first met him in 1966 as I was coming out and visited the Albany Trust and the HLRS in Shaftesbury Avenue. I was nervous; everybody was nervous. A wonderful woman called Doreen Cordell gave support.
I met Anthony Grey – a nervous and shy man; and for several years he was a major infulence of my life. He showed me the world could be changed. We did not have to accept the law or the negative repsonses to homosexuality. I did my PhD on this.
Anthony Grey was one of Britain’s first gay rights activists. He was instrumental in forcing the government to push through the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which paved the way for modern law reform. He began campaigning for gay equality in 1958 and later became secretary of the Albany Trust, a charity set up to help gay men who had developed psychological problems after being persecuted. Later in life, he was involved in counselling and training work and joined the executive committee of the British Association for Counselling.
Fore 3 or 4 years I worked with the HLRS – but then along GLF and I found its more radical approach more persuasive. Sadly, I lost contact with him. And only recently have I learned of his death. Fellow gay rights campaigner Andrew Lumsden, who had known Anthony Grey since the age of nine, commented at his death: “I was one of his oldest friends and he was an extraordinarily brave man. His work paved the way for the Gay Liberation Front, OutRage!, Stonewall and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.”
Anthony Grey lived with his partner Eric Thompson for over 50 years, even at a time when it was considered dangerous for gay couples to share a house. He died after several years of being ill with leukaemia at King Edward VII Hospital in London on Friday April 30th 2004.
Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation
Speaking of Sex
Speaking Out: Sex, Law, Politics and Society.
INTIMATE CITIZENSHIP Today I have started a page which will hopefully slowly piece together some of my writings and thoughts on this idea ( Go to: Selected Writings/ Intimate Citizenship). I first recall thinking of the idea walking along a beach in Santa Barbara in the early 1990’s as I was completing Modern Homosexualities…