The Politicization of Homosexuality in Senegal: Moral Panics and Political Competition in the Midst of Social Change

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Title: The Politicization of Homosexuality in Senegal: Moral Panics and Political Competition in the Midst of Social Change
Authors: Lafrance, Lianne
Date: 2016-05-13
Abstract: This research paper examines the case of Senegal in order to provide insight into the micro-level, contextual factors of the politicization of homosexuality in Africa and to inform a more effective understanding of this process. The concepts of homosexuality as a social barometer, moral panic, and issue competition are deployed as a theoretical framework. This paper presents an examination of the processes through which homosexuality is constructed as ‘un-African’ and major macro-level explanations for the politicization of homosexuality in African countries. With this assessment in mind, the theoretical framework is then applied to an analysis of the politicization of homosexuality in Senegal, from l’Affaire Icône in February 2008 to the results of the 2012 presidential and legislative elections. Analysis reveals that enduring economic hardship and political disenfranchisement fomented anxieties about sexual morality, which were then manipulated by religious and political actors to trigger a moral campaign against homosexuals. The moral panic over homosexuality was an instrument of contestation of and competition for political power. Similar to cases elsewhere in the world, the politicization of homosexuality in Senegal was not driven by homophobia so much as by political opportunism.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34657
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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