On Not to be Gay: Aversion therapy and transformation of the self in Postsocialist China

H Bao


In this article, through a critical reading of the published diaries written by gay ‘patients’ who received aversion therapy in south China in the 1990s, I examine how the transformation of subjectivities from gay to straight was made possible by such ‘self-technologizing’ practices as writing and communication. I also consider the centrality of the body and affect in the process of subject (trans)formation, and ask how a new, coherent and authentic ‘self’ was fabricated through bodily and affective experiences. This discussion not only reveals the social construction of the self as central to China’s postsocialist governmentality, but also the central role that gender and sexuality play in processes of self-formation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2012.103


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