Prerna 1537249: Queer Theory and Sociology: Locating the Subject and the Self in Sexuality Studies (The remaining pages)

Green, Adam Isaiah. “Queer Theory and Sociology: Locating the Subject and the Self in Sexuality Studies.” Sociological Theory 25.1 (2007): 26-45. Web. 23 June 2016

In the latter section of his article, Green argues that queer theory seeks to negate the closure of ‘personage’ offered by lesbian and gay studies. Queer theory according to Green ” seeks to…demonstrate the ways in which the sexual subject defies taxonomic representation.” (34).  The author has further referred to Butler and Jagose to suggest that the basic aim of Queer theory is to denaturalize whatever constitutes our understanding of the ‘normal’.

The author has also gone on to talk about the four major factors that Queer Theory takes into consideration. First, queer theory aims at establishing the “disjunct in the performative interval.” ( Green 34). By this he implies that a queer subject cannot be understood within a heavily circumscribed social setup. Secondly, even if one were to deconstruct the said systems of social identifications, how would one go on to analyse the queer? Wouldn’t one still require some kind of categorisation? The author seems to raise the question as to whether or not is it possible to have a compelely deconstructionist approach.  However, his third argument states that if one studies a phenomena under the said subject positions, aren’t we then justifying and consolidating them. Lastly Queer theory considers any kind of identification to be intra-psychic i.e. an internalized subject position within a highly stratified social system.

Green argues that it is not only sexuality that is “constituted by a governing logic” ( 37) ; it has as its components, race and nationality as well. All these require an “urgent epistemological intervention through queer theory.” (37)

 

 

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Prerna (1537249): Queer Theory and Sociology: Locating the Subject and Self in Sexuality Studies by Adam Isaiah Green ( First 10 Pages)

Green, Adam Isaiah. “Queer Theory and Sociology: Locating the Subject and the Self in Sexuality Studies.” Sociological Theory 25.1 (2007): 26-45. Web. 23 June 2016

According to the author, queer theory offers a shift in the paradigm  when one tries to contemplate subjectivities. The author majorly has two main arguments. The first being that self and identity are “complex shifting formatives constituted in language and interaction.” (Green 26). Second he argues that queer theory must maintain a deconstructionist framework while approaching sexuality. Although Seidman critiques queer theory for its “refusal to name a subject”, it is imperative that queer theory maintains this lest it gives into the heteronormative mode of structuring society.

In my opinion the refusal to name a subject draws from the fact that identities are fluid and that gender performances function as a simulacra, with there being no original to refer back to.  The author then levels an implicit criticism on the idea that one can associate a history with the emergence of lesbian and gay sexualities. This is precisely because such thought seems to posit the notion that these orientations are not innate in mankind.

The article draws attention to the striking congruence between the regulatory medical discourses of the 19th and 20th centuries and Lesbian and Gay studies of that time.

Furthermore, up to this point Foucauldian notions of knowledge and power have been deployed to understand how “expert discourses” serve as modern day means of social control and shape the hegemonic understanding of sexuality.

The basic tenet f queer theory is to “confront normalizing regimes and their subject objects as sites prime for desconstruction.” ( Green 29)

Green has then referred to Lemert (1951: 54-55) and suggested that when societal reaction to any form of deviant behaviour is severe then it is probable that “integration of existing roles will be disrupted and that reorganization will be based on a new and deviant role will occur.”

Up until this point, the article argues whilst making references to Kessler and McKenna that gender again is a process of attribution. It is not an ontological property of the self. However I would like to conclude this bit by saying that gender again is a performance. Although a certain way of ‘performing’ is forced upon us, queer theorists jar our rational faculties and force us to go beyond that.

Prerna: MOOC: Assignment 1 (Week 1): I am a Writer ( Tell Your Story)

Hello everyone, Prerna here. To me, writing is a highly personal exercise and it entails engaging with one’s self and the kind of myriad experiences one has had in life. I would like to believe that I started ‘writing’ as such when I was in the eighth grade and wrote a poem which I published on poetry.com. Luckily, it won me the Editor’s Choice Award, which I’ve laminated and kept somewhere; and that was a huge motivation for me. When I look back, the early years of my writing mostly included poetry, the usual teenage heartbreak chronicles. However, as I moved on to high school, college and finally as I now pursue my Master’s degree, I realise that my interest lies in engaging with memories. Most of my work ( prose and poetry) deals with memories and how people make sense of them.

As far as academic writing is concerned, I am proud of this working paper I wrote for my first year of Master’s class entitled: “Notions of Fate in Marquez’s Chronicles of a Death Foretold”.  Although it didn’t fetch me great marks, I did like working on that particular research area and reading up about Magic Realism.

I remember having a blog for most of my undergraduate life, but as of now I have discontinued it and prefer maintaining a diary. This is because a blog or a website demands a certain kind of continuity which I am not very comfortable with. For me writing is a painstakingly time-consuming process, I cannot just vomit out prose or poetry as and when instructed to and I think that’s what makes it more beautiful, the fact that someone has taken the time to gently craft a poem or prose. Although you can choose not to agree with me here, but then again, to each his own.

Prerna(1537249): The Homosexual Role

McIntosh, Mary. “The Homosexual Role.” Social Problems 16.2 (1968): 182-92. Web. 16 June      2016

Mary McIntosh in her article “The Homosexual Role” argues that instead of viewing homosexuality as a ‘condition’ one should refer to it as a social ‘role’. However there seems to be a problem with that. A role again is defined by McIntosh as ” a complex of institutional arrangements which depend upon and reinforce these ideas.” ( McIntosh 189). The ideas are referred to here once again are those of ‘normal’ socialization. In my opinion, the deeming of homosexuality as a ‘role’ as opposed to a’condition’ hasn’t done much to help the cause.

However the author does realize that feelings and actions associated primarily with the people we deem as homosexuals are not just limited to them. She also cites various examples from anthropological discourses to attest to the same. Furthermore, the author suggests that the deeming of homosexuality as a ‘condition’ functions as a form of social control in an essentially homophobic society.

It is noted that the author does not contest the notions of supposedly ‘normal’ gender roles. Also, contrary to what the author suggests, it is a possibility that not all homosexuals are ‘okay’ with being tagged as deviants. The supposed deviancy might not exactly be a site for celebration and acceptance into a homosexual community.

Mary McIntosh refers to Ford and Beech while suggesting that typically there are two broadly accepted patterns; “the institutionalized homosexual role and the liaison between men or boys who are otherwise heterosexual. (McIntosh 186).  

Through this particular article, McIntosh seeks to claim that there are no neatly demarcated categories, which one can consider to be homo or hetero sexual but rather there is a constant flux between the two. 

 

 

 

Prerna: “A Queer Encounter: Sociology and the Study of Sexuality”- Steven Epstein

Epstein, Steven. “A Queer Encounter: Sociology and the Study of Sexuality.” Sociological Theory 12.2 (1994): 188-202. Web. 9 June 2016
The author here focuses on the “social constructions of sexuality” ( Epstein 188) and seeks to establish as to how certain modes of sexuality get naturalized.  Being a sociologist, he laments the lack of interest sociology has taken in matters of sexual identification whilst asserting that “human sexuality was ‘always already’ social in its organisation and manifestations.” ( Epstein 190)
The essay suggests that a queer identity is formed not so much via the means of homosexual activity but rather by being labelled as such. However the author fails to elaborate as to why would one ascribe to such identities? A meager answer is managed when he points towards ‘internalization’, but that does not seem very fulfilling. The notion of identity politics cannot be reduced to this degree.
Furthermore, the essay also alludes to Foucault’s History of Sexuality where in he has suggested that sexual categories and the ones which are deemed to be ‘natural’ emerge out of various permutations and combinations of power and knowledge.
Ultimately, the author by quoting Teresa de Lauretis, defines the usage of the term queer as something which is at a distance from the more convenient sexual categories of lesbian and gay.