Queer Mobilizations

LGBT Activists Confront the Law

384 pages

September, 2009

ISBN: 9780814791318



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Scott Barclay is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Albany, SUNY and author of An Appealing Act.

All books by Scott Barclay

Mary Bernstein is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut and co-editor of Queer Families, Queer Politics.

All books by Mary Bernstein

Anna-Maria Marshall is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and author of Confronting Sexual Harassment.

All books by Anna-Maria Marshall

Fighting for marriage and family rights; protection from discrimination in employment, education, and housing; criminal law reform; economic justice; and health care reform: the LGBT movement is engaged in some of the most important cultural and political battles of our times. Seeking to reshape many of our basic social institutions, the LBGT movement’s legal, political, and cultural campaigns reflect the complex visions, strategies, and rhetoric of the individuals and groups knocking at the law’s door.

The original essays in this volume bring social movement scholarship and legal analysis together, enriching our understanding of social movements, LGBT politics and organizing, legal studies, and public policy. Moreover, they highlight the struggle to make the law relevant and responsive to the LGBT community. Ultimately, Queer Mobilizations examines how the LGBT movement’s engagement with the law shapes the very meanings of sexuality, sex, gender, privacy, discrimination, and family in law and society.

Contributors: Ellen Ann Andersen, Steven A. Boutcher, Bayliss Camp, Casey Charles, Ashley Currier, Courtenay W. Daum, Shauna Fisher, David John Frank, Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Charles W. Gossett, Marybeth Herald, Nicholas Pedriana, Darren Rosenblum, Susan M. Sterett, and Amy L. Stone.


  • “The editors do an excellent job in bringing together a wide variety of work in this field. It is a particularly important addition to the scholarly discourse on activism and social change, where research on the benefits and limitations of legal strategies for social movements is sorely needed.”

    —American Journal of Sociology

  • “This volume will be useful to scholars who want to examine the relationship between legal institutions and social movements generally and to those who want to examine the how [sic] this relationship relates to the LGBT movement specifically... it presents a survey of the range of tactics social movements use to achieve change in legal institutions and the ways legal institutions provide barriers and opportunities for broader social change.”


  • Queer Mobilizations is one of precious few volumes that manages to bridge divisions between legal and cultural analysis and between scholarship and partisanship. Brilliantly interdisciplinary, moving fluidly between ‘theory’ and empirical-legal analysis, these essays force us to approach law as central to the current struggles over the American erotic landscape. A truly must read!”

    —Steven Seidman, author of Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life

  • “This innovative collection of essays delves into the complex relationships between social movements and legal institutions. The essays creatively address the contradictory goals in the battles for social change by LGBT movements and the normalization that can often result from legal decisions. An essential and unique contribution.”

    —Peter M. Nardi, author of Gay Men’s Friendships: Invincible Communities

  • “What is the complicated relationship between the LGBT movement and the law? The contributors to this fascinating volume offer a rich and thoughtful analysis of this important question by exploring an array of important policy issues. Timely and well written, this book should be of keen interest to teachers, scholars, movement activists, and citizens.”

    —Craig A. Rimmerman, author of The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilationist or Liberationist?

  • "This volume is a precious contribution to the study of the relationships between the law and contemporary social movements. It should not only interest specialists on LGBT activism, but should also attract a wider audience, including scholars working on legal mobilisation and interactions between the law and social movements." 

    —David Paternotte, Social Movement Studies

  • "This book offers a brilliant introduction to the complexity of the relationship between the law and LGBT issues."

    Social Movement Studies

  • "Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law is an edited volume that reflects the burgeoning voice and growing favorability of the LGBT movement within the world's court systems . . . This collection of essays offers a welcome interdisciplinary supplement to those areas of LGBT scholarship most closely connected to the LGBT movement - namely, queer theory, queer history, and gender studies."

    —Matthew Dean Hindman, Law and Politics Book Review