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Possessive Attachments: Identity Beliefs, Equality Law and the Politics of State Play

Cooper, Davina (2018) Possessive Attachments: Identity Beliefs, Equality Law and the Politics of State Play. Theory, Culture & Society, 35 (2). pp. 115-135. ISSN 0263-2764. E-ISSN 1460-3616. (doi:10.1177/0263276417745602) (KAR id:68532)


One feature of the neo/ liberal possessive self is the propertied character of certain beliefs: treated as belonging to those who hold them, recognised and supported in acting on the world, and protected. While an ownership paradigm predates anti-discrimination and human rights regimes, these regimes have consolidated and extended the propertied status of certain identity beliefs in ways that naturalise and siloise them. But if beliefs' propertied character is politically problematic, can it be unsettled and reformed? This paper considers one possible mode for doing so, namely play. Oftentimes, play works to secure and assert the propertied attachments people have to their beliefs; but some forms of play offer other possibilities. Focusing on the state as a complex site of play relations and encounters, this article explores how state play engages identity beliefs in a contemporary legal drama of colliding beliefs between conservative Christians and liberal gay equality advocates.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0263276417745602
Uncontrolled keywords: conservative Christianity, equality law, lesbian and gay studies, liberal state, play, property, resistance
Subjects: K Law
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Catherine Norman
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 09:50 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 22:58 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Cooper, Davina.

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