'Uninhibited Play': the political and pragmatic dimensions of intoxication within queer cultures

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Wednesday 18 May 2022 04:00 pm until Wednesday 18 May 2022 05:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Dr Stephanie Lusby
Presented by:
Professor Kane Race
Type of Event:
Current Student: Undergraduate; Current Student: Postgraduate; Public Lecture; Seminar/Workshop/Training; Public

'Uninhibited Play': the political and pragmatic dimensions of intoxication within queer cultures

Kane Race, Kiran Pienaar, Dean Murphy, Toby Lea

This paper argues that disinhibition provides a better frame for grasping the significance of the chemical practices of sex and gender minorities than competing concepts such as 'minority stress'. Disinhibition draws attention to the pragmatic, performative dimensions of intoxicant consumption while keeping the material constraints produced by the stigmatisation of non-normative sexual and gender expression in view. The genealogy of dis/inhibition we outline in this chapter reveals its affinities with the pathologisation of sexual and gender minorities from the late 19th century, enabling us to see how the consumption of intoxicating substances might emerge as part of processes of counter-corporealisation over the ensuing century. Drawing on qualitative research with LGBTQ+ drug and alcohol consumers in Australia, we explore how queer and transgender cultures of sex and drug experimentation activate the mode of play and playfulness to engage in practices of queer world-making in which stimulant consumption is understood to counter the material pressures of social and sexual 'inhibition'.

About Professor Kane Race

Kane Race is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. He is interested in attributions of agency within drug discourse and practice, and engagements with care in the context of stigma. His books include Pleasure Consuming Medicine: the queer politics of drugs (Duke UP 2009) and The Gay Science: intimate experiments with the problem of HIV (Routledge 2018).


If you would benefit from the use of a live Auslan interpreter during the seminar, please let us know.

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La Trobe University

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