This article explores the relationship between queer thought and kinship through a study of video autoethnographies by Jean Carlomusto and Richard Fung. I propose the concept of ambivalence as a useful point of departure for grappling with the conflicted political, affective, and conceptual terrain of LGBT kinship. Through close textual analysis of four video autoethnographies, I extend existing sociological, anthropological, and philosophical scholarship on LGBT family and kinship to consider audiovisual production as a specific and productive kinship practice. Queer film and video autoethnography offers unexpected and insightful accounts of queer relationality. In contrast with dominant North American family narratives and imagery concerned with continuity, heredity, and the closed white, heteronormative North American intimate sphere, Carlomusto's and Fung's works probe the moments where kinship breaks down: illness and death, migrant experience, and family secrets. Through a doubled formal and thematic emphasis on fragmentation, discontinuity, and affective ambivalence, these extraordinary works help us understand kinship otherwise, or queerly.
Julianne Pidduck; Queer Kinship and Ambivalence: Video Autoethnographies by Jean Carlomusto and Richard Fung. GLQ 1 June 2009; 15 (3): 441–468. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-2008-031
Download citation file: