This week's review "presents a genealogy of queer theory" through its blending of sociology and activism studies

Underdogs: Social Deviance and Queer Theory

Love, Heather. Chicago, 2021
224p index, 9780226668697 $95.00, 9780226761107 $26.00, 9780226761244 $25.99

Underdogs: Social Deviance and Queer Theory book cover. Beige background with retro half-rainbow on left side.

Love (English, Univ. of Pennsylvania) presents a genealogy of queer theory, locating its roots in the American social sciences following WW II. Interestingly, the book takes on queer inquiry and research during a time before Stonewall, which is not frequently covered in queer studies, making it unique. Readers are subsequently guided through thematic chapters that cover different aspects of stigma and social deviancy: “Beginning with Stigma,” “The Stigma Archive,” “Just Watching,” “A Sociological Periplum,” “Doing Being Deviant,” and “The Politics of Stigma.” Stigma is at the center of this text as Love grapples with the connections between the radical activism often thought to have shaped contemporary queer thought, often considered “an outsider to the academic world,” and the social scientific influences that also impacted it. As Love notes, early queer scholarship may have created stigma and inconsistencies in information, but it was an essential alternative to the queer accounts of politics and an important influence for modern-day queer inquiry. This book concisely addresses the modern queer movement as Love challenges readers to critically consider that holding on to what is most valuable in queer critique may mean letting go of what is not.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
A. J. Ramirez, Valdosta State University
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Sociology
Choice Issue: Aug 2022

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