Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Queer and such . . .

What Are Queer Ethics? A Working Definition:

Queer ethics are an ethical model of resistance to the material conditions of homophobic patriarchy in the early 21st century emerging from, but increasingly no longer limited to, the Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans liberation movement and its intersections with the post-modern philosophical tradition. Queer ethics seeks to deconstruct mainstream norms and values, and the binary oppositions on which they are founded in order to reconstitute the public sphere as one free of oppressive and constructive hierarchies (particularly those forces that seek to confine sexuality and limit chromosomal sex, gender and desire to an orderly prescribed set of relations) in favor of more flexible models of identity and social organization. Further, queer theory and ethics seeks to reveal the structure of homophobic patriarchy itself through the study of the containment of sexuality and gender disturbance by the priestly, otherworldly forces of seriousness.
On the individual level, queer ethics are a form of ethical self-creation, an aesthetic ethics which seek to cultivate a decentered identity capable of opening to unexpected and complex intimacies and identities. These aims are achieved through discursive and embodied practices, which dramatize the incoherency of old hierarchies and selves and their attendant essentialisms. It is taken as axiomatic that such practices will promote anti-transcendental materialism, transgression, pleasure and new and violent intimacies and will weave the personal and political, transforming the world while transforming the self. In this sense, the sexual sphere is the privileged (but by no means exclusive) area of operation.
In particular, queer ethics derives its inspiration and inner logic from the practices and perspectives of the GLBTQ community which promote intimacies capable of breaking down and recreating the Apollonian self and society. The forms of queer life (nightclub culture, gym culture, sex practices, camp humor, cross-dressing/drag, hostile eroticism, alternative family arrangements, artistic production/aestheticism, for example), although often flowing out of the experience of marginalization, are reclaimed by this view as having “wiser, waywarder” perspectives of a profoundly ethical and transformative nature that, in threatening the orderly binaries of society, offer the potential of new and creative cultural moments. In order to understand the meaning and potential of queer cultural forms, a variety of theoretical models (Bataille, Nietzsche, Butler, Foucault) are employed in an attempt to deconstruct and denaturalize prevailing negativity about them and suggest cogent and valorizing alternative meanings.
That's the offical working definition at the moment - I'll try to unpack it over time.

This post comes from a friend's blog you can check out at:


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