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Disrupting Dignity – Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives - NYU Press Scholarship Online
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Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives

Stephen M. Engel and Timothy S. Lyle


Dignity is having a moment. It pervades our cultural, political, and legal imagination and has become a basis for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility. How has the word been invoked? Who has done so and why? Should the recognition of LGBTQ+ people as dignified be a cause for celebration or, ironically, a cause for concern? Put differently, does this recognition foster equality, equity, and inclusion, or does it expand boundaries? Beginning with an episode in HIV/AIDS history—the shuttering of bathhouses in the mid-1980s—we trace dignity’s generative work as a rhetorical and neoliberal tool to police q ... More

Keywords: dignity, LGBTQ+, public health, law, cultural representation, neoliberalism, queer, equity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9781479852031
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2022 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479852031.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Stephen M. Engel, author
Bates College

Timothy S. Lyle, author
Iona College

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Front Matter

Part I Dignity’s Disciplining Power: The Politics of Public Health from AIDS to PrEP

Part II Promoting Sameness or Embracing Difference: Distinct Visions of Dignity in Popular Culture

Part III Respect versus Respectability: The Court’s Definitions of Dignity