Foucault and Queer Theory by Tasmin Spargo

By Tasmin Spargo

Within the POSTMODERN ENCOUNTERS sequence and offering a quick creation to Foucault's compelling rules and the improvement of Queer tradition, this is often the assembly position among the Frenchman's theories of sexuality, strength and discourse and the present key exponents of Queer considering.

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Extra resources for Foucault and Queer Theory

Example text

Izzard’s appearance can be interpreted as the performative queering of norms of gender and sexuality, while reactions to it reveal the force of normalisation that pulls us towards conventional understandings of bodies and identities. In Foucauldian terms, we might read this as an embodiment of resistance ‘inflaming certain points of the body, certain moments in life, 63 F O U C A U LT A N D Q U E E R T H E O R Y certain types of behavior’ and of our attempts to restore that body to its proper, knowable condition.

Traditional accounts of the history of homosexuality have tended to downplay the importance of aspects of the past that do not fit the model of progression from repression to liberation, including queer subcultures like lesbian butch-fem communities of the 1950s. These subcultures, which preceded gayness, have more in common with current queer culture. But if ‘queer’ is viewed primarily as the basis for a new identity politics, then it too will necessarily exclude and restrict; the unease with which many people view the prospect of identifying as queer reflects this.

This analysis could be seen as a political necessity: what is the use, what are the dangers, of accepting that there is no such thing as a natural, unified homosexual identity if the presumption of a natural heterosexuality is unchallenged? Queer studies of this opposition combine Foucault’s history of sexuality with deconstructive textual analysis. In her introduction to a collection of essays called Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories (1991), Diana Fuss applies Jacques Derrida’s notion of the ‘supplement’ to the analysis of the opposition of heterosexual/homosexual.

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