How to Love in Easy Steps: Heteronormativity, Queer Love, and Foucault's Counter-Conduct

Hannah Jane S. Carpiso,
Ninotchka Mumtaj B. Albano: Ateneo de Manila University

Published Date: Sep 14, 2022 | Accepted Date: Sep 14, 2022 | Submitted Date: Jul 20, 2022


Love is one of the most pervasive human experiences, yet it remains undefined to this day. There have been attempts to describe love that led to the institutionalization and privileging of heterosexual identities, relationships, and ways of loving. Michael Warner refers to this phenomenon as “heteronormativity,” which subjectivities and relationalities are rigidified into fixed, heterosexist structures. Nonetheless, queer love unfolds in ways different from institutionalized ways of loving. It invents and re-invents love, relationalities, and subjectivities by moving beyond dichotomies of heteronormativity. The inventive characteristic of queer love is found in what is known as the “gay mode of life”, an instance of Michel Foucault’s “counter-conduct.” Arnold Davidson calls this the “gay counter-conduct" that is said to create new relationships, cultures, choices, and modes of being that have been unknown in a heteronormative culture. Gay counter-conduct resists limitations on being and behaving; it is a homosexual strife that is also a struggle against a certain kind of conduction. David Halperin connects gay counter-conduct to queer love by describing it as a kind of love that allows unusual, inexplicable, and subversive ways of loving. This paper aims to answer the question, “Does queer love function as a counter-conduct against heteronormativity?”


queer love, heteronormativity, conduct, counter-conduct

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