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Contesting knowledges: Formulating (hetero)sexual bodies in the Terri-Jean Bedford decision*

Ordóñez, Maria-Belén (2000) Contesting knowledges: Formulating (hetero)sexual bodies in the Terri-Jean Bedford decision*. NEXUS: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology, 14 (1).

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Official URL: https://journals.mcmaster.ca/nexus/article/view/17...


This paper is part of a larger ethnographic project on citizenship and sexuality. More specifically, I demonstrate how the law ambivalently constructs sadomasochism as a sexual practice. I explore this ambivalent relationship through the disjunctions of legal discourse and how particular bodies are socially constructed through two court rulings in the Terri-Jean Bedford case. Terri-Jean Bedford is a dominatrix who was charged and convicted for keeping a common bawdy house in Thornhill Oust outside of Toronto) in October 1998. My analysis concentrates on how these rulings culturally construct knowledge about "other" sexual bodies so that eroticism is rigidly and uncritically understood in (hetero)sexual terms. I demonstrate how the rulings consistently return to a particular version of what "sexuality" means. Knowledge is never produced so simply, hence, Terri-Jean Bedford's complicity and participation in producing meaning(s) is included. In addition to the court rulings, there are short excerpts from Bedford's unpublished manuscript which explore the complexity of how knowledge is produced. Although there is a hegemonic Truth that resonates in legal discourse, I also include subjugated voices that contribute to their own subjugation. Thus, contested knowledges resonate in the place of a final "ruling" or politics.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 20:47
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 19:47
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/935

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