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Queer theory

Related: queer - theory - critical theory

Foucault and Queer Theory (1999) - Tamsin Spargo
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Michel Foucault is the most gossiped-about celebrity of French poststructuralist theory. The homophobic insult 'queer' is now proudly reclaimed by some who once called themselves lesbian or gay. What is the connection between the two?
This is a postmodern encounter between Foucault's theories of sexuality, power and discourse and the current key exponents of queer thinking who have adapted, revised and criticised Foucault. Our understanding of gender, identity, sexuality and cultural politics will be radically altered in this meeting of transgressive figures.
"Foucault and Queer Theory" excels as a brief introduction to Foucault's compelling ideas and the development of queer culture with its own outspoken views on heteronormativity, sado-masochism, performativity, transgender, the end of gender, liberation-versus-difference, late capitalism and the impact of AIDS on theories and practices.


Queer theory is a theory about sex and gender within the larger field of Queer studies. It proposes the theory that one's sexual identity is partly or wholly socially constructed, and therefore individuals cannot really be described using broad terms like "homosexual" or "woman." It challenges the common practice of compartmentalizing the description of a person to fit into one particular category.

In particular, it rejects the creation of an artificial and socially assigned categories and group-entities based on the division between those who share some habit or lifestyle and those who do not, The Other. Instead, queer theorists suggest building up categories and groups by voluntary and especially aesthetic associations.

Earlier historical influences include Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, and Jacques Derrida. The primary influence in the development of Queer theory was Michel Foucault; later theorists include Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer_theory [Oct 2004]

Queer studies

Queer studies are the academic study of issues raised in literary theory, political science, history, sociology, ethics, and other fields by an examination of the identity, lives, history, and perception of Queer people.

The most serious and abstract of these, in common with feminism, tend to be concerned with the identification of homosexuality as defining a class of "The Other" subject to persistent and brutal bodily repression - acceptable even in some cultures in which other forms of it are abandoned. This is thought to resemble the objectification and commodification of women as creatures suitable only for receipt of love, although, the queer more often received hate historically. A key concern is that only in the 19th century did homosexuals apparently become a species rather than a habit or disorder, in the Western world's legal and philosophical view. The term gay is often deprecated by those who reject this view, just as it is embraced by those who accept it and propose gay pride as the solution to repression.

Some primary scholars in Queer studies include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Audre Lorde, John Boswell, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.

Techniques in Queer theory include the search for Queer influences and themes in works of literature; the analysis of political currents linking the oppression of women, racialized groups, and disadvantaged classes with that of Queers; and the search for Queer figures and trends in history that are contended to have ordinarily been ignored and excluded from the canon.

Queer studies are not to be confused with Queer theory, a deconstructionist analytical viewpoint within Queer studies which is based on certain assumptions about subject-object problems. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer_studies [2004]

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