Queer Theory. Essay

2686 words - 11 pages

The concept of sexuality, what is socially accepted, what is 'natural', what is prescribed by religion, what is deemed deviant has been a form of social analysis, controversy, political debate and a measure of human progress.For what was considered the least talked about issue in society, sexuality was in many ways what defined the individual, their society, culture and the legal and moral laws that presided within it. The controllers of power were white, middle class, heterosexual men. If one of the white, middle to upper class men were found to be practising homosexuality they were gaoled and deemed to be under the influence of Satan himself. Homosexuality was in many ways to the hegemonic masculinity an abdication of the throne, stepping down from the privileged class and taking the form of the lower forms of life; women and the lesser races.Lesbianism was either thought to not exist at all or was not thought of as a problem because they were not threatening (in any substantial way) the existence of a stable, masculinized order. Oppression came in the form of the hegemonic masculinity passing laws to outlaw homosexuality and pronouncing that homosexuality was in fact a medical condition and could be treated. Yet despite the many laws passed, all the psychotherapy and electrocution the homosexual was still very much alive.Then came the Stonewall riots, gay and lesbian and feminist movements who swept around the world, the liberation swept into the academic world and new thoughts surrounding sexuality were being produced at rapid rates.These thoughts of sexuality are in a constant state of change, deconstructing and reinventing. Queer theory has emerged from this spiral of thought and has impacted not only on the academic world but in the form of popular culture, where it continues to challenge and in many ways further sexual liberation.Queer Theory; It's precursors and Theorists.Sexual desire has been for centuries thought of as being part of our natural makeup, as if it were embedded within our very being. This idea of sexuality being a natural drive was shared by many leading figures in the academic world; Charles Darwin, anthropologist Malinowski, the philosopher Marcuse and Freud saw sexuality within human psychology.These ideas were challenged in the form of Post-structuralism, often associated with the works of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, which dominants the structure and understanding of Queer theory.'[Post-structuralism] refers to a manner of interpreting selves and the social which breaks with traditional epistemologies'Post-structuralism argues that subjects are the autonomous creators themselves or their social worlds. Subjects are embedded in a complex network of social relations. These relations thus determine which subjects can appear where, and in what capacity.Post-structuralism contends that a focus on the individual as an autonomous agent needs to be 'deconstructed', contested and troubled.It is engaged in...

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