What queer theory teaches us…

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Simon During writes: “In a nutshell, what queer theory teaches us is that nothing is certain about sex and sexuality and that the social categories we have to organise, use and police it are contingent (they might be different and indeed are always in the process of becoming different). And the same is true, at the level of individuals and their bodies, for the pleasures and other intensities we take from sex, which although they may be offered to us as mediated through sex’s social categories, are also open to modification by new ways of incorporating and acting out (or performing) gender as well as sexual drives.  This mode of analysis – which emphasises the contingency and performativity of gender roles and which was pioneered by Judith Butler – owes a great deal to post-structuralism and often seems more appealing as a theoretical model than useful for the analysis or enactment of actual, existing, sexual cultures and politics.” (189)

During goes on to say that “Richard Dyer in one essay in his The Culture of Queers focuses on our uncertainty about whether film noir movies, which like so many American fictions involve close relations between ‘buddies’, are to be read as representing erotic flows between these buddies or not. He argues that this uncertainty is itself a feature of noir, one of the ways in which it unsettles and destabilises the status Quo (Dyer 2002).” (189)

Ref: Simon During (2005) Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction. Routledge: London and New York.

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