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Sex Change, Social Change, 2nd Edition
Be the first to ask a question about Sex Change, Social Change. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 26, duck reads rated it did not like it Shelves: given-up-on. Important institutional critiques buried in conflation of unchecked privilege with nonbinary identities and accusations that identity-driven politics and existing movements in trans rights activism are to blame for institutional problems facing trans folks. Weird, weird, and since my book club meeting on the subject is now past I am not putting in the effort to take deep breaths and clam myself through the aggravating parts to get at the good stuff that is actually pretty obvious though may wel Important institutional critiques buried in conflation of unchecked privilege with nonbinary identities and accusations that identity-driven politics and existing movements in trans rights activism are to blame for institutional problems facing trans folks.
Weird, weird, and since my book club meeting on the subject is now past I am not putting in the effort to take deep breaths and clam myself through the aggravating parts to get at the good stuff that is actually pretty obvious though may well have been groundbreaking when the book was published I guess? I do not know. I stopped reading before the argument that identity politics would lead to Arnold Schwarzenegger infiltrating the TWB, but I am told it happens.
Here there be dragons and strange, strange logic. The book is an insightful and, I would argue, mandatory read for anyone who conducts research on the materiality of sex and gender, regardless if you're focus is on trans people or not. To be it bluntly, gender a The book is an insightful and, I would argue, mandatory read for anyone who conducts research on the materiality of sex and gender, regardless if you're focus is on trans people or not.
To be it bluntly, gender and queer theory has a bad habit of examining trans embodiment to negotiate or unfold cis people's sexuality. This is mainly seen within the work of Judith Butler, which Namaste heavily critiques. My only issue concerns the polemic nature of the book.
While, I whole-heartily argue with Namaste's critique, at times if feels like there are two many structures that she goes after. This is not to suggest that she doesn't handle intersectional politics well concerning race, class, and sexuality in addition to one's gender , because she handles that quite masterfully.
But rather to draw attention to the role of language within this criticism.
Sex Change, Social Change : Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism
I completely agree with critiquing the Anglo-American tradition of English that is passed throughout academia but I'm not sure if positioning French above that is the way to go. Of course Namaste is speaking from standpoint of a Quebecois and, yes, in that context it makes perfect sense but when she positions the language problem as an international problem and only speaks attends to French as an alternative is feels lacking and defensive, to me, at least.
Of course she is advocating for multicultural understanding of one another and language but I felt like she couldn't unpacked that area a bit more to state the nuance more directly rather than to have readers interpret it. Dec 11, Ryry rated it it was amazing. Which identification should we choose? Why choose one? Why choose? We are probably these and many other things - but are we so essentially, necessarily, because we are a woman, or white, or pansexual?
Or are we rather the somewhat random combination of all those impulses, in a balance that shifts every day?
These linking practices begin with a generalization, then move on to restrict the horizon of possibilities for the subjects and collectives to which they refer, and finally result in the invisibilization of what lies outside of these possibilities - above all, the hegemonic aspects of straightness, and the queer possibilities of heterosexuality. What were the mechanisms involved in the constitution of this series, and which are still in force guaranteeing its reproduction?
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In a previous section I mentioned that some activists and scholars are wondering "whatever happened to us", considering that the problem lies in the depolitization of a movement that in its origins seems to have been actively counterhegemonic. It remains to be understood, then, what are the concrete, political results of these sequences today. Series such as these may have served their purpose as a cohesive strategy, mainly in the beginning of the political organization of gay-lesbian collectives. One might suggest that they were effective in joining ranks when it was time to advocate certain political claims - although perhaps they were not.
This discussion notwithstanding, and leaving aside whatever might have been the case in the past, it is fundamental to remain suspicious of what the purpose is today of establishing alliances for political ends on the sole basis of sexual or gender identifications. Or has our conceptual apparatus, so successful in challenging the necessary and essential nature of the link between sex and gender, not succeeded in contesting the one between sex and politics or gender and politics?
This exercise can help us work towards a greater coherence between our political journey, our goals for the future, and the theoretical approaches adopted to interpret the networks of identifications that surrounds us. When Perlongher referred to "the disappearance of homosexuality" he did not understand it as the extinction of a variety of sexual practices, nor as the return to the underground practice to which they were restricted in many societies, and still are in considerable portions of the globe.
Rather, he referred to the almost imperceptible disappearance of the "noise" that these practices made due to their radical character. Thus, what Duggan identified as "homonormativity", i. Homosexuality becomes something normal, irrelevant, apolitical: "By making it completely visible, the offensive of normalization has succeeded in removing all mystery from homosexuality, banalizing it completely".
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The visibility of homosexual practices would have stripped them of their subversive content, integrating them into a society that would thus be saved from a potentially dangerous source of infection. Although I do not intend to enter the debate on the history of these processes, it is interesting to see how the authors' contention reminds us that identitarian positionings can function collectively but apolitically, and that homosexuality in particular today does not entail in and of itself a locus of political radicalism, or a position that "makes noise" or is interested in doing so.
The question that remains to be solved at this point, then, is how we can "make noise again". Why should we take sexual identities or practices as the only relevant factor when it comes to undertaking a political project? Perhaps we would be better off considering instead whether the people with whom we interact have an interest in being part of a project of dissent or political subversion with the characteristics and purposes of ours. As Namaste has pointed out, in order to achieve real and concrete progress in people's lives, rather than looking exclusively at the specific rights of, for example, transgender people, it is essential to focus on "how these issues link with those of other marginalized populations, or with the functioning of the state in general.
In what way, by what means? With which aims? For whom? Ever since its beginning as a movement, queer perspectives have been trying to provide options for those who want to be among the ones who "make noise". Part of the potential of this category lies precisely in the ambiguity it conveys, already evident in the fact that it can be a noun, a verb and an adjective, and that it does not refer to a static identity, but to a fluid and relational positioning.
Criticisms of queer stances are numerous, and are largely focused precisely on their normalization and assimilation by a market eager to turn every transgression into a "trend. We are not even in a position to affirm that queerness is necessarily dissident: queerness itself as a category is not necessary and essentially anything ; rather, it will be whatever we want and can do with it. Remaining alert to this flexibility of the term should be at the core of our political task, and intersectionality will undoubtedly be a fundamental tool to achieve this.
If, on the contrary, we come to the conclusion that "queer" as a theoretical-political category is hopeless for a radical project, then our first task will be to think about other equally elastic and dynamic places. They will never be so completely, because our actions, like our knowledges, are situated. But it may be a good start. Undoing Gender.