Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



queer theory

  An intellectual movement developed in the 1990s that centres on the significance of sexuality and gender and their interrelationships. This definition is necessarily broad because the term adamantly resists easy characterization. Above all, \'queer theory\' draws on both senses of its adjective: lesbian/ gay/pan-sexual identity and desire (see psychoanalytic theory, geography and); and odd or strange: in the sense of challenging norms of sexuality (De Lauretis, 1991; Jagose, 1996).

Two rather general uses of the term can be noticed, however. First, queer theory is a term often used loosely to describe any work in gay and lesbian studies. Second, and more precisely, queer theory challenges the dominance and ubiquity of hetero-normativity (the presumption that heterosexuality is the normal or best form that sexuality can take; cf. homophobia and heterosexism). It also constantly destabilizes our taken-for-granted ideas by rejecting any fixed or stable notions of sexuality and gender, their characterizations or effects (see essentialism; gender and geography; performativity). Here, it is interesting that the target of its critique is not just other research orientations, but also gay and lesbian studies, politics, and even queer theory itself (Jagose, 1996).

The problem with any dictionary definition of the term is that it is meant to refuse fixing or defining, because such a move logically excludes facets of sexualities, or strategies that rethink them (see post-structuralism; postmodernism). This dilemma reflects the tendency of dominant discourses to incorporate and diffuse any moves to stand outside and challenge them. Thus, queer theory is quite ambivalent about the growing normalization of gays and lesbians in society (which is even reflected in its first definition given above).

Queer theory\'s relationship with geography is two-way, with one increasingly recognizing the implications of the other. Simply put, queer theory demands that geographers recognize how hetero-normativity can blatantly or subtly taint the geographies that we write and research. Here sexuality\'s implications for exploring new and/or different geographies is highlighted (Ingram, Bouthillette and Retter, 1997; cf. sexuality, geography and). Geographers and architects conversely have pointed out queer theory\'s penchant for historicity, language, and literary texts while ignoring the spatiality of those representations, even when they are analysed explicitly (Bell et al., 1996; Betsky, 1997). (MPB)

References Bell, D., Binnie, J., Cream, J. and Valentine, G. 1996: All hyped up and no place to go. Gender, Place, and Culture 1: 31-48. Betsky, A. 1997: Queer space. New York: William Morrow & Company; De Lauretis, T. 1991: Queer theory: lesbian and gay sexualities: an introduction. Differences 3: 1-10. Ingram, G., Bouthillette, A. and Retter, Y. 1997: Queer in spaces. Seattle: Bay Press; Jagose, A. 1996: Queer theory. New York: New York University Press.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
quantitative revolution


Other Terms : audience | central business district (CBD) | Social Darwinism
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us