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Historical materialism

A term coined by Marx describing the development of societies as being tied to the material conditions within it.  This is particularly relevant to explaining the developments of queer history and explains why certain progresses (and regressions) came to be.  One of the earliest steps towards a queering of culture happened when “the expansion of capital and the spread of wage labor [had] effected a profound transformation in the structure and functions of the nuclear family, the ideology of family life, and the meaning of heterosexual relations” (D’Emilio 469).  Later, as capitalism allowed for more of the workforce to live and work away from their families, men and women were able to detatch themselves from the nuclear family and explore their identities.  It was “only when individuals began to make their living through wage labor, instead of as parts of an interdependent family unit, was it possible for homoexual desire to coalesce into a personal identity” (D’Emilio 470).  Any and all ideological developments can be tied to a society’s material conditions.  [Alex]

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