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Capitalism

Capitalism is distinguished by the private ownership of capital in order to make a profit.  Capitalism has played a key role in developing how homosexuality and queer culture is expressed over time.  Capitalism freed people from relying on the nuclear family for support as a unit of production (D’Emilio 469) and allowed for a number of new social phenomena to occur.  It also created a rush towards urban centers which allowed for new groupings of people to occur, including homosexuals, D’Emilio states “only when individuals began to make their living through wage labor, instead of as parts of an interdependent family unit, was it possible for homosexual desire to coalesce into a personal identity” (D’Emilio 470).  People who already had homosexual desires could now find like minded people, and people who hadn’t considered themselves as homosexual were now thrown into environments where they were free to experiment with their own sexuality.  “As wage labor spread and production became socialized… it became possible to release sexuality from the “imperative” to procreate” (D’Emilio 470).  (See Historical Materialism)

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