WGST 2P98 Chapter Notes - Chapter WGST 2P98, Week 5, Cathy J Cohen, Reading Note: Teresa De Lauretis, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Queer Theory

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Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens:
The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? Week Five Reading
Page | 1
Page 437
Queer Politics
Much work needs to be done to make it truly inclusive and welcoming of diversity.
Such work will be a great struggle.
Continuing practice of racism many of us experience on a daily basis in lesbian and gay
communities.
Limits of lesbian and gay political agenda based on a civil rights strategy where assimi-
lation, into and replication of, dominant institution are the goals.”
Seeks to transform the basic fabric and hierarchies that allow systems of oppression to
persist and operate efficiently.
Challenge offered by the idea of queer politics.
Challenging the very way people understand and respond to sexuality.
Disrupt dominant norms
Page 438
Queer politics has served to reinforce simple dichotomies between heterosexual and eve-
rything queer.”
Page 438
Emergence of Queer Politics and a New Politics of Transformation
1990s First use of the term queer.”
Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, Teresa de Lauretis, Diana Fuss, Michael Warner
o First canonical works of queer theory.”
o Focused on identifying and contesting the discursive and cultural markers found
within both dominant and marginal identities and institutions which prescribe and
reifyheterogendered understandings and behaviour.
o Sought to replace a socially named and presumably stable categories of sexual
expression with a new fluid movement among and between forms of sexual be-
havior (Stein and Plummer 182).”
Queer theory stands in direct contrast to the normalizing tendencies of hegemonic sexual-
ity.
The sexual subject is understood to be constructed and con- (page 439) tained by multiple
practices of categorization and regulation that systematically marginalize and oppress
those subjects thereby defined as deviant and other.”
Page 439
Focuses o and makes central socially constructed nature of sexuality and sexual catego-
ries.
Varying degrees and multiple sites of power distributed within all categories of sexuality.
More political formation.
In your face” politics of a younger generation.
Recognizes and encourages the fluidity and movement of people’s sexual lives.
Sexual expression is something that always entails the possibility of change.
Highlighting the instability of sexual categories and sexual subjects.
Directly challenge the multiple practices and vehicles of power which render them invisi-
ble and at risk.
Willingness to confront normalizing power by emphasizing and exaggerating their own
anti-normative characteristic and non-stable behaviour.
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Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens:
The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? Week Five Reading
Page | 2
Page 439
The destabilization of collective identity is itself a goal and accomplishment of collective
action.
When and how are stable collective identities necessary for social action and social
change?”
Page 440
Queer politics (not queer theory but similar) is often perceived as standing in opposition
or in contrast to the category-based identity politics of traditional lesbian and gay activ-
ism.
At the intersection of oppression and resistance lies the radical potential of queerness to
challenge and bring together all those deemed marginal and all those committed to libera-
tory politics.
Heteronormativity is the normalizing practice/power that has most often been the focus of
queer politics.
Inability of queer politics to effectively challenge heteronormativity.
Queer politics has often been built around a simple dichotomy between those deemed
queer and those deemed heterosexual.
All heterosexuals are represented as dominant and controlling and all queers are under-
stood as marginalized and invisible.
My concern is centered on those individuals who consistently activate only one charac-
teristic of their identity, or a single perspective of consciousness, to organize their poli-
tics, rejecting any recognition of the multiple and intersecting systems of powers.”
Page 441
I am concerned with those manifestations of queer politics in which the capital and ad-
vantage invested in a range of sexual categories are disregarded.”
Results in narrow and homogenized political identities are reproduced that inhibit the rad-
ical potential of queer politics.
Queer activists who evoke a single-oppression framework misrepresent the distribution of
power within and outside of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities.
Limit the comprehensive and transformational character of queer politics.
Examining the concept of Queer.”
How might we, Construct a new political identity that is truly liberating, transformative,
and inclusive of all those who stand on the outside of the dominant constructed norm of
state-sanctioned white middle- and upper-class heterosexuality?
Be based on an intersectional analysis that recognizes how numerous systems of oppres-
sion interact to regulate and police the lives of most people.
Intersectional workings of oppression.
Interlocking systems of domination.
The analysis of one’s place in the world which focuses on the intersection of systems of
oppression.
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Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens:
The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? Week Five Reading
Page | 3
Page 442
Understanding of the ways our multiple identities work to limit the entitlement and status
some receive from obeying a heterosexual imperative.
Must be a commitment to left analysis and left politics.
Any political response to the multilayered oppression that most of us experience must be
rooted in a left understanding of our political, economic, social, and cultural institutions.
A left framework makes central the interdependency among multiple systems of domina-
tion.
Recognize and confront the more direct and concrete forms of exploitation and violence
rooted in state-regulated institutions and economic systems.
Role of interlocking systems of oppression.
o Against class oppression, racism and sexism.
Commitment to a fundamental transformation of the economic, political and social struc-
tures of society.
Left framework of politics brings into focus the systematic relationship among forms of
domination.
The creation and maintenance of exploited, subservient, marginalized classes is a neces-
sary part of.
The economic configuration.
Civil rights strategies do not challenge the moral and antisexual underpinnings of homo
(page 443) phobia because homophobia does not originate in our lack of full civil equal-
ity.
Page 443
Proceeding from the starting point of a system-based left analysis, strategies built upon
the possibility of incorporation and assimilation are exposed as simply expanding and
making accessible the status quo for more privileged members of marginal groups, while
the most vulnerable in our communities continue to be stigmatized and oppressed.”
White, middle-class heterosexual standard running through significant parts of feminist
analysis and actions.
Left-rooted analysis which emphasizes economic exploitation and class structure, culture,
and the systemic nature of power provides a framework of politics that is especially ef-
fective in representing and challenging the numerous sites (page 444) and systems of op-
pression.
Left-centred approach is one that designates sexuality and struggles against sexual nor-
malization as central to the politics of all marginal communities.
Page 444
The Root of Queer Politics: Challenging Heteronormativity?
What do queers want?”
Extend beyond the sexual arena.
Acknowledgment of their lives, struggles, and complete existence.
To be represented and included fully in left political analysis and American culture.
To be part of the social, economic, and political restructuring of this society.
Those embracing the label of queer understand the need to challenge the assumption
of heteronormativity in every aspect of their existence.
Experiences of (heteronormativity) domination = Transformational Politics creation.
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Document Summary

Much work needs to be done to make it truly inclusive and welcoming of diversity. Such work will be a great struggle. Continuing practice of racism many of us experience on a daily basis in lesbian and gay. Limits of lesbian and gay political agenda based on a civil rights strategy where assimi- lation, into and replication of, dominant institution are the goals. Seeks to transform the basic fabric and hierarchies that allow systems of oppression to. Challenge offered by the idea of queer politics. Challenging the very way people understand and respond to sexuality. Queer politics has served to reinforce simple dichotomies between heterosexual and eve- Emergence of queer politics and a new politics of transformation. 1990s first use of the term queer. Queer theory stands in direct contrast to the normalizing tendencies of hegemonic sexual- ity.

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