Affirm Survival: On Queer Strategies of Resistance at Queer Funerals
In this chapter, I will relate strategies of resistance in funeral rituals among gay identified men in Sweden to the so-called anti-social strand in queer theory represented by Lee Edelman (2004, see also Caserio et al. 2006).1 More specifically, I will analyze discourses of love articulated at the funerals. The men I am writing about can be defined in general terms as ethnically Swedish, middle-class gay men. Their lived experience, together with that of feminist women of color, was a central catalyst for the emergence of queer theory (Jagose 1996). In this way, both their normative assimilationist and radical queer attempts constitute crucial empirical material, inspiring the thinking of the anti-social strand in queer theory. Furthermore, for Edelman, homosexual men seem to offer an insight into a possible queer oppositionality.2 Against this background, I find it fruitful to scrutinize their possible anti-sociality, especially when confronted with death-a very concrete end of the social. Do the men, in Edelman’s terms, make any attempt to embrace negativity (Edelman 2004: 4)? The main question I ask, inspired by Edelman, is if, in the rhetoric of love,
there are discernibly different ways of addressing death, without transcendence or fantasies of immortality?