On the very possibility of queer theory

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Is queer theory a reflection on what it means to be queer, or does the concept of queerness change the ways in which we theorise? On the one hand the concept of theory appears to be inextricably intertwined with the concept of the human: man is that rational animal possessed of a soul capable of intuiting the essential, or what truly is (Irwin 1988). On the other hand, the possibility of a true theory – a thinking without a normative image of thought – seems to be opened only after the death of God and the death of “man’ (Deleuze 1994: 109). For Deleuze, true thought and true theory – a real break with the normative image of “man’ – must include both the intuition of the ground from which sense, truth and problems emerge, and must fulfil the promise of transcendental inquiry, which has all too often fallen back upon a self or subject who subtends theory. Contrary to a popular idea of a simple anti-humanism Deleuze does not simply reject the intuition of essences, the eternal, genesis and grounds; on the contrary, his work is best understood as an argument in favour of a true or superior transcendentalism which would think beyond the residual humanism maintained both by forms of Kantian critique and by popular notions of community and interrogation (Deleuze 1994: 197). While abandoning the idea of a metaphysical outside or “beyond’ which might ground metaphysics, post-Kantian thought has nevertheless maintained the possibility of renovating thought from within (O'Neill 1989).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDeleuze and Queer Theory
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780748634064
ISBN (Print)9780748634057
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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