CriticaLink | Plato: Phaedrus | Terms


A term suggested by the feminist Gayle Rubin and developed by Eve Sedgwick, a theorist of gay and lesbian studies, homosocial refers to the bonds, often charged with eroticism, that connect men in ways that empower them socially. These connections frequently involve women as a "third party" as a unit of exchange, as when a father seals a connection with another man by offering a daughter in marriage to the man's son, or as a shared object of sexual attraction, as when two men are linked emotionally through their competition for a woman.

In Athenian culture, homoerotic relations between men had a definite social dimension, as an alliance with an older man could advance a younger man's social and political goals.