ISSN: 17571898
First published in 2009
2 issues per volume
Volume 9 Issue 2
Cover Date: October 2017
Same-sex love in times of Dutroux: The articulation of homosexuality with child abuse in late 1990s’ Flemish print media
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Authors:  Florian Vanlee And  Sofie Van Bauwel And  Frederik Dhaenens 
DOI: 10.1386/cjcs.9.2.185_1

homophobia,discourse analysis,Dutroux affair,child abuse,flanders,Flemish media

In this article, we point to the peculiar conjuncture between the increased emancipation of gay men and lesbian women in late 1990s’ Belgium, and the noted impact of the contemporaneous Dutroux affair on the construction of sexual diversity in the country. Approaching the case as a moral panic, we conducted a discourse analysis of the associated coverage in four mainstream Flemish newspapers, focusing on the articulation of homosexuality with child abuse. In doing so, we show how the folk devil is an a posteriori construct, operating as an empty signifier rather than a defined character, rendering it open to recuperation by other discourses. Hence, we illustrate how the conspiratorial construction of the folk devil in the Dutroux affair provided a space to articulate homosexuality with while still refraining from engaging in an explicitly homophobic rhetoric. Finally, we point to how historical contingencies inhibited the presence of moral entrepreneurs, pointing to moral opportunists as discursive agents instead.
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