Sovereignty As a Structure of Feeling
The Homosexual within Post-Cold War Armenian Geopolitics
Following a homosexual panic in 2012, grassroots actors in post-Soviet Armenia became embroiled in questions of Armenian nationhood and the geopolitical impacts of Russia to the East and Europe to the West in Armenian internal affairs. These discussions were shaped around the figure of the homosexual. This article is based on twelve months of ethnographic research with leftist activists and right-wing nationalists in Yerevan, Armenia. While queer scholars working on post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe have focused on EU and neighborhood membership as it impacts LGBT life, activism and nationalist contestation, this research is interested in expanding on the impacts of Russia and especially “Eurasianism” on feelings of sovereignty within the post-socialist context. I use Raymond Williams’ (1977) notion of “structures of feeling” to argue that in the post-Cold War era, it is through conspiracy theories regarding figures like the homosexual and its threats on “cultural values,” that sovereignty is felt, negotiated and contested. These understandings of sovereignty emerge in the absence of official or transparent state positions, which has new implications on postcoloniality.