Rancière and Queer Theory: On Irritable Attachment
The article begins by examining the obstacles to an encounter between Rancière’s work and queer theory, Foucault and psychoanalysis, and by questioning Rancière’s own view of queer theory. The article then argues that Rancière’s formalist account of political subjectivation is open to a queering which allows his assumptions about queer theory to be set aside. It goes on to outline a Rancièrian queer theory which is methodologically egalitarian in its commitment to taking seriously the self-understandings of ordinary queer subjects and which remains true to Rancière’s scepticism about ‘theoreticism’ and his critical perspective on disciplinary formation. It finds in Rancière’s critique of progressivism and the value he places on singularizing self-realization in the present the sources of a queer understanding of futurity and kinship in certain respects consonant with Lee Edelman’s. The article concludes that the affective disposition and relational mode implicit in Rancière’s practice of irritable attachment offer queer theory the vision of a less fraught and more liveable response to ambient heteronormativity.
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© borderlands ejournal 2009