Love and Money

Queers, Class, and Cultural Production

224 pages

30 halftones

January, 2013

ISBN: 9780814790588



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Lisa Henderson is Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

All books by Lisa Henderson

Love and Money argues that we can’t understand contemporary queer cultures without looking through the lens of social class. Resisting old divisions between culture and economy, identity and privilege, left and queer, recognition and redistribution, Love and Money offers supple approaches to capturing class experience and class form in and around queerness.
Contrary to familiar dismissals, not every queer television or movie character is like Will Truman on Will and Grace—rich, white, healthy, professional, detached from politics, community, and sex. Through ethnographic encounters with readers and cultural producers and such texts as Boys Don’t Cry, Brokeback Mountain, By Hook or By Crook, and wedding announcements in the New York Times, Love and Money sees both queerness and class across a range of idioms and practices in everyday life. How, it asks, do readers of Dorothy Allison’s novels use her work to find a queer class voice? How do gender and race broker queer class fantasy? How do independent filmmakers cross back and forth between industry and queer sectors, changing both places as they go and challenging queer ideas about bad commerce and bad taste?
With an eye to the nuances and harms of class difference in queerness and a wish to use culture to forge queer and class affinities, Love and Money returns class and its politics to the study of queer life.


  • "Drawn along disciplinary lines of queer theory, feminist theory, and critical cultural studies, Love and Money contributes vital scholarly debates over the emancipatory potential of cultural recognition versus economic redistribution.  As a scholar of communication, Henderson adds valuable complexity to this discussion, highlighting the ways in which queer visibility depends on a class - race reduction mediated through tropes of bodily excess, disenfranchisement, and trauma.  Through timely and profound analysis she weaves together disparate experiences and expressions from a variety of queer cultural texts to present a language of queer-class engagement that articulates the categories of race and gender while working to recenter class as a vital frame through which to understand the production of sexual difference." 

    —Meg Rooney, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking

  • Love and Money is at once fiercely intellectual and full of heart, formidable and invitingly funny. In this series of essays, Lisa Henderson offers some of the sharpest, most imaginative analysis of queerness and social class out there, shaking up entrenched ideas about how the two are and should be related.”

    —Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco

  • “Henderson’s affective approach to the case history yields rich accounts of the resourceful survival strategies through which queer films and novels get made despite limited means. Exemplifying the values of love and solidarity that she finds in her cases, her critical practice offers innovative approaches to thinking queer and class together and fresh answers to longstanding questions about what it means to make art in a market economy.”

    —Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas, Austin

  • 'Throughout, Henderson grounds queer cultural criticism in the liminal movements and moments of everyday life, treating this criticism as art and understanding criticism as inside of, and a contributor to, cultural production. She also formulates a new kind of classed-queerness, one characterized by softness and slowness, of people trying hard to live and survive as best as they can. Summing Up: Highly recommended."


  • "In Love and Money Henderson attempts to look at contemporary queer cultures through the lens of social class. Henderson is critical of the distorted ways in which American media represents queer cultures and identity and seeks to study the difference that social class makes on queer subjectivity and representation."

    —Rohit K. Dasgupta, Transnational Cinemas

  • "It may be that the book is, at its core, an unusually intimate excavation of media-cultural experience. This much is evident in the carefully crafted prose and the frequent self-reflexive passages in which the author's various roles—as researcher, critic, fan, and consumer, but also as queer and classed subject—are laid more bare than is customary. Henderson reveals herself as voracious observer, situation her half-dozen primary objects in a jam-packed mediascape, where no one-off episode or festival favorite is too far off the mainstream radar. This is commendable, and invigorating, while the field tends to compartmentalize mainstream and experimental film and media as nonconversant tracks. Love and Money is also, irrefutably, hopeful. This may also be a suit that many of us are unaccustomed to wearing, especially as regards class politics at the current historical juncture. But in these pages, it might pay to try. It is, at least, as Henderson herself concludes, 'a place to start.'"

    —Cynthia Crisis, International Journal of Communication