Black Queer Ethics: An Investigation into Ethical Norms of Kinship and Family 公开

Young, Thelathia "Nikki" (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/k06987785?locale=zh
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Abstract

Black Queer Ethics: An Investigation into Ethical Norms of Kinship and Family
By Thelathia Young

American social and political discussions about marriage derive from long-standing
notions of kinship and family, which are based on deeply rooted concepts of gender roles
and power differentiation. As a social phenomenon, religion has contributed to the ways that
these concepts propagate common social narratives. Christianity, in particular, has influenced
the texture of religious discourse and has impacted the social construction of race, gender
and sexuality. As a work of Christian social ethics, my dissertation investigates moral norms
of kinship and family that foreground the intersection of race, gender and sexuality.

Drawing on womanism, feminism, queer theories, virtue ethics, narrative, and
interview material from research participants, this dissertation introduces Black Queer Ethics
(BQE) as a theoretical perspective and method that establishes three overlapping premises.
First, family and its surrounding norms, is both a microcosm of and pedagogical foundation
for human relationality. Second, black queer people are moral subjects whose ethical
reflection, lived experience, and embodied action illustrate valuable moral agency for those
of us thinking about liberating and life-giving ways to enact "family." Third, recognizing and
critically engaging the moral agency within marginalized subjectivities enables consideration
and witnessing of the moral potential in all of us.

Through analysis of ethnographic research with nearly fifty black queer Atlanta
residents, this dissertation ultimately argues that black queer people are moral agents who
enact family in ways that are simultaneously disruptive to current familial norms in our
society, creatively resistant to the disciplinary powers at work in those norms, and generative
and imaginative in relation to establishing new ways of being in relationship.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface

In the Beginning........... 1

Joining the Ranks........... 5

Expanding Our Limits........... 15

Introduction

The American Context and Christian Ethics........... 17

Purpose of the Project........... 23

Disruption, Creative Resistance, and Subversive-Generative Imagination........... 27

Intersections and Working Assumptions about Identity........... 32

"Family" and "Norms": Defining Two Key Terms........... 38

Ethics and Praxis: Research Methods........... 42

A Roadmap for the Journey: Chapter Outline........... 52

Chapter 1: Practicing Black Queer Ethics Through Narrative

Introduction........... 55

Ethical Responsibilities: Recognizing, Listening and Telling, Doing........... 58

Narrative: A Tool for Moral Reflection and Agency........... 76

Conclusion........... 90

Chapter 2: The Moral Practice of Confronting Norms

Introduction........... 92

On Disruption and Irruption........... 96

Confronting Norms........... 102

The Importance of Deconstructive Elements in Disruption........... 126

Disruption and Irruption as Moral Discourse in Practice........... 130

Deconstructing "Family" and Race Politics........... 138

Re-Thinking and Re-Acting Norms: A Constructive Process........... 144

Generating New Norm Possibilities........... 148

Conclusion........... 151

Chapter 3: From Norms to Values: Moral Agency and Creative Resistance

Introduction........... 155

Capitalism and the Family: Propagating an Economy of Values........... 161

Black Queers as Moral Subject and Agents: Virtues and Values that Resist........... 174

Black Queer Family Values that Resist, Re-construct, and Create........... 196

Conclusion: Creative Resistance, Black Queerness and the Good Life........... 204

Chapter 4: Subversive-Generative Moral Imagination

Introduction........... 207

Imagination as a Moral Capacity........... 212

Generating New Worlds: Imagining a Queer Future........... 216

Subversion Tactics: Implementing Queer Relationality........... 221

Imagining Ethical Frameworks for Queer Relationality........... 238

Conclusion: Reflections on Black Queer Morality and Family

Implications of the Project........... 251

Moving Forward: "Liberated Being" and Ongoing Questions........... 258

Appendix

Appendix A: Description of Ethnographic Method........... 263

Appendix B: Sample Recruitment Advertisement........... 266

Appendix C: Table of Participants' Demographic Data........... 267

Appendix D: Interview Schedule........... 269

Appendix E: Coding Lists........... 272

Bibliography 273

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