Response to ‘Created from Within’



I want to ask a few questions related to the kinds of ongoing quandaries we often discuss in the LGBTQ Focus Group. For starters what are the disciplinary systems other than that old bugbear “the normal” and the (in your papers, mostly juridical) systems that produce the normal that are at work here? You ask in your paper, Roxxy, about moving away from conceptualizing oppression through recourse to binaries, but the not-quite-as-queer-as-they-could-be familial structures in Sarah’s paper and the numerous fairies who Hadley fantasizes as watching Oberon and Titania’s sexual activities still seem to reproduce disciplinary structures that reinforce normativity. These configurations do not seem to combat this binary very well at all, but I wonder if we might begin to describe other forces – aside from normality – that attempt to mark, define, contain, exclude, and assassinate queerness: if, in other words, there might be locations where we can fight other than the battlefield of normality. What else can queerness combat?

And I am wondering how sex works vis-à-vis the carceral, as well. As David Halperin and others have pointed out, our sexual desires are also a part of the disciplinary systems on which we conceptualize our subjectivities, sexual and otherwise, but I am wondering if any of you sees sex as such as a way out of carceral systems. Ought we to reject Genet’s conceptualization of resistance through sex? Genet’s position is the only one I heard today that suggested that sex might be a way of fighting discipline. Or does Bersani tell us that Genet, too, has drunk Oberon’s kool-aid? I am not suggesting that sex – sodomitical or otherwise – solves anything, but I am wondering if there are specific sexualized interactions – unstable encounters with otherness that cannot be reduced to something knowable – that might dosomething… either to the subject herself or within the diffuse power relations in which disciplinary systems exert their power.