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Not Yet Queer Enough: The Lessons of Queer Theory for the Sociology of Gender and

Author(s): Stephen Valocchi
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 19, No. 6 (Dec., 2005), pp. 750-770
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
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Accessed: 04/12/2012 05:03
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The Lessons of Queer Theory for
the Sociology

of Gender

and Sexuality


Trinity College, Hartford,

This article

that sociologists
gauges the progress
of gender and sexuality have made in employing
that have utilized aspects of queer theory
insights of queer theory by examining four recent monographs
in their empirical work: Rupp and Taylor (2003), Seidman (2002), Bettie (2003), and Schippers (2000).
The article uses the insights of queer theory to push the monographs
in an even "queerer" theoretical
direction. This direction
involves taking more seriously the nonnormative
alignments of sex, gender, sex
uality, resisting the tendency to essentialize
identity or conflate itwith the broad range of gender and sex
as both performed
ual expression
and treating the construction
of intersectional
in nature. The analysis of these texts also insists that a queer sociological
theory situate its
in economic, political,
and other institutional processes.
emphasis on discursive power more firmly
methods are proposed as the most useful way of combining queer theory with sociological







1994, Steven Seidman edited a volume of Sociological Theory on queer theory
(Seidman 1994) that introduced a queer theoretical perspective to a sociological
audience and suggested how queer insights might be useful in rethinking gender












to sociologists



queer theory seriously by editing a collection of essays in which the contributors
utilized queer theoretical insights in their empirical work (Seidman 1996). Despite
a decade
and sexuality
of gender
as a legitimate
see queer
some of the
the original
article will
by reviewing
theory. This

recent work



to highlight

the insights garnered using queer

/ would like to thank Mary Bernstein,
Rob Corber, Stephanie Gilmore,
their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this arti
Stein, and Salvador Vidal-Ortizfor
I would like to thank the anonymous
reviewers and the editor of Gender & Society,


Seidman, Arlene
cle. In addition,

in gender and sexuality




their thoughtful

and thorough comments.



of Sociology,

Trinity College,


GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol. 19No. 6, December 2005 750-770
DOI: 10.1177/0891243205280294
? 2005 Sociologists forWomen in Society

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identity that constitute the whole These parts. perspective. ethnography and important this research is especially associated with distinguishing an and sexuality. gender the dominant sexual and subjectivity have made several different kinds of critiques of queer theory Sociologists 1996). sociology addressing excellent the work insights in this direction. as theory engages how they can be also the analysis Conversely. are also concepts power signifying in turn. Jagose 1996. Walters 1996). texts for these Thus. out laying uses article After of the the central these of a queer elements to evaluate elements and analysis. the section larger of arguments four recent studies: Leila Rupp and Verta Taylor's (2003) Drag Queens at the 801 Caba ret. I first involve a different the describe a focus sexuality. up new and sexuality. tenets. theoretical queerer 751 ENOUGH QUEER dispositions. The analysis below shares some of these at the we significant.75 on Tue. extend the next. opens analysis of gender challenges structures Third. ethnographic and as I argue practices. my into the sociology in nature. and Identity. Seidman 1997. Julie Bettie's (2003) Women without Class: Girls. in the conclusion. during they have developed Using of the texts in so doing. Race. same must time find that because insists to make ways the these are of queer insights theory to empirical amenable insights analysis. perfect and queer the ongoing tensions between By pushing theory.Valocchi YET / NOT are evaluated tenets in light of the main theory.52. and a refusal of the easy conflation and sexuality cursive in analysis. taken This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.168. tant component of and hegemonic a queer perspective. and the critical deconstruction of identity or group empowerment (Collins 1998. on and operate based and and of practices a dis within are fash subjectivities and gender taxonomies. of questions Second. Steven Seidman's (2002) Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life. of range These sexuality. way. Green 2002. social life in general. inAlter andMimi Schippers's (2000) Rockin 'out of theBox: Gender Maneuvering native Hard These Rock. provide springboards they do not go far enough. indicates in a critical evaluation and. proceeds of a queer claims can of queer the article direction. First. Four monographs these the past decade. understanding from and gender. well suited to handle themethodological identities. its literary critiques pointed predominant lack of to attention (Seidman categories but critiques the institutional and contexts material discursive of power 1997). were monographs chosen for several reasons. these texts stand as in empirical of utilizing of a queer examples key components perspective serve as in work in the area of this for future research. gender these monographs. where sexual of systems regulate sexual to deal power central of understanding way on the performativity desires. Walters on to texts focus its have (Gamson 1994). These (Edwards 1998. with sexual ioned three These directions institutional and concepts the rela of gender in the formation of identities. between tionship gender. identities. in an extended how indicates with even queer theory of the materiality of in the construction The article sex. the of taxonomies. queer they templates use elements a queer and But while these works of gender sexuality. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions impor collec is . in more sociological pushed and sexuality and the role of be sex.

GENDER 752 tively. THE COMPONENTS OF QUEER ANALYSIS and Sex. and across these vari relationship assumes that has one each person "sociology . and hence ideological and the normative the categories by treating alignment do conspire on which our research lens through is based and the major assumptions our data. we masculinities narrate the and femininities nature changing of lesbian among and men gay and women communities (Armstrong 2002. the starting we which encourages (Bittman et al. to congeal these categories the classifica into This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. gender. As Lorber sex. one gender. but the danger lies in their implicit recognition of male/female." Although ity is the uninterrogated sociologists as we as a source of power. These projects are essential. or they (Lorber that dynamics as identities. & SOCIETY to some point ways suggest these weaknesses. 2003). attitudes. affect each of norms. The conflation of with identities further these variables interpret or in earnings We this tendency. are social construc consequences. is assumed this alignment recognize this in reproducing them as among relationship norm. tions with one woman life chances. a masculine a man male. Stein 1997). gay but constructions. A are congruent which and fixed for life. further Sociologists ables. to be a feminine sexuality. gender presentation. for example. is either sexuality these behavior. straight. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions social . for sex differences look. Queer theory turns this emphasis on its head by deconstructing foregrounding tion systems nature the constructed and resisting the tendency of and sexuality sex. the social Of course. espe cially for those who do not fit neatly within their normative alignments. Rethinking Sexuality are used as separate to thinking vari and sexuality of sex. across them constructs but are ideological or as these By taking categories givens are constructed that inequalities by the are more naturally occurring phenomena. and or women. or masculine are these social social important tend to see signaling We also that are interests or homosexual heterosexual them important indicators feminine. bundles our of 144) (1996. that as variables and roles.. of as self. masculine see We 1996). we examine in the time balance between work and home subordinate dominant and (Connell 1995). categories alignment masculine/feminine.168. Sociologists or are either male terms: with discrete in binary attributes defined Bodies our are and roles behavioral social either female. categories that as well heterosexual/homosexual than exert power over individuals. we are men sociologists admit Thus. Gender.75 on Tue. the binaries as the normative somehow as reified. Heterosexual female.. dispositions. these binaries. gender. we do not the ways fully consider These in the first place. the normative acknowledge states. the insights of these monographs der and as a social theory The final section of queer weaknesses to address 2005 / December science of and perspective the article on builds for doing queer work in gen and offers guidelines sexuality. ables or feminine.52.

sexual or pays cases. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions As lit 2005. gender. of the only of . (Corber 1991) have shown. these construct logical Queer and focuses theory and practices. genders. gender. This gulf between is one experience "deviant" that do It also 2003). instabilities than categories lesbian female. among on normative ture the complexity even lived identities the Valocchi the binaries ideolog are identities social practices. in this hegemonic and is sensitive sexual formation subvert the normative of sex. analysis? between and becomes gender sexuality are not assumed and practices subjectivities what example. alignments construction individual tax the dominant and lesbian masculinity the ones gay. to one particular the and binary and cultural 2002. new gender. (Corber alignment sexuality to how the dominant attention taxonomies fail to cap 1999. Sedgwick at the end of the gulf and between the lived of experience that has served throughout the homosexual/heterosexual centuries: film with centrally and social knowledge structuring theorists. a broad of complicated range and represent imperfectly the meaning are revealed the binaries Because identities. and (Gagne is gender Tewksbury 2002). the emergence the nineteenth it individuals. central to more useful mies of male analytical and subjectivities. when erosexuality may what the and sexuality up opens queerly about old concepts. Lorber or constructions sexual 753 for example. gender and psychic of social life. deals analysis sex.52. While to view for example. that violate mies the those and their tionships and sexed sexuality subjectivities surrounding associated of contribution the ideo queer analysis. of the reality incoherence with sexed bodies to be cultural and and gender In other words.168. in nonnormative and practices dominant as separate sexuality manifestations: unanticipated is gendered of the dominant 2002). Rethinking Gay Identity a queer While alignments also pays difference twenty-first erary Duggan category of special gender. encourages ent dimensions or the anatomies. with gender and sexuality (Jagose 1996. of bodies and the social cues. For thinking and lesbians when is made gender when the relationship happens an and and gender sexuality by our suggested what happens are understood queerly Also. and question read off empirical to be easily or identity categories? Gay femininity onomies uals of ways may be taxono dominant to the and study of het to analyze used reveals the analysis to the ways individ and in the sexuality of heterosexuality. Halperin homosexual sexuality. and subcultural formations? Queer practices. we As new see will below. as the twentieth (Seidman binary social historians normative the century became of trope and into the 1997). not fit into in terms themselves define may and those queer analysis ways taxono scheme classification and independ their interrela explores the ways. us. attention scholars. instability. Halperin (Delaney processes and of individual gender and sexual subjectivities who fraught incompletely 1996). a way not This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.Valocchi /NOT YET QUEER ENOUGH ical fictions. rethinking and for questions sociologists to the happens sex. 2000. or either of the binaries neatly category of and and sex. men study of gay In other words.75 on Tue.

This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. It simply A queer analysis challenges not with subjective the identity. such 1979. the practices. the hierarchy in action (West and Fenstermaker cess aside. formation: identity depending racial. on racial. these of as fixed identities of course. choice and modes practices intersexuality. and gender Sexual Latin one again. Stein 1997).. on sex of object is not based subjectivity that masculine/feminine) active/passive. and queer power the collective adds analysis women among identity of woman with to this sexuality for to class. coherent of and culturally variable pro and does and cul vary systems in the process awareness to the of assumption the historically leatherplay. Kessler 1993. to or enact this enforce categories. sex of object choice may be irrelevant to an individ ual's tant. respect set of differences and by so doing points again to the limitations of identity-based analysis (Collins 1991 . and public readily human became abnor and the derivative tropes of the centrality acknowledge but types Normal discourse. the meanings. sociologists. act. and ethnic. life. of sexual or class class identity affiliations. knowledge. sex of object choice.e. and private?these public however. the classification the categories and altered these the ethnicity. pointing the identity. Epstein interests nation. to the need to interrogate the gendering 1998). This historically experience between relationship that correspond of associated across and power and are constructed as race. these categories. be more in unique impor ways expressions. a fairly with one's social contingent in which ways identity sexual role inter for choice. the salience and calls into question analysis to is its attention intersectionality: categories through axes of social differ of individuals several along on feminist work that criticized the different ethnicity. institutions a queer identity identifications ence.754 GENDER ordering. the categories of embodiment. Kulick sexual of crosscutting minimizing race. that but on plays than rather (Chase cultures. First.Crenshaw 1995). Building (i. and these practices and modes become the basis for identity may 1998). these in the of sexuality and of categories to take one example. These number norms behavioral of prestige and historically turally that formation identity and gender (Adam 1985. do not and personalities. attests identities systems.168. secrecy of and classifying. experience. such as sadomasochism. of homosexuality us reminds hence stable of not but also on the many binary cannot defined affiliations be accurately sexual/heterosexual formation and social of sexual identity by focusing this understanding constructed and ideological selves. social 1995).75 on Tue. differences may be inflected may thus. or heterosexuality. in which way coherence the sexual sexual (Almaguer Another sex of object 1998. sexual the embodiment 1997. & SOCIETY mal. Transnational research also are Western In many categories. and that the constructed invalidate of power categorical nature of the homo individual desires. Murray are the constructed socially and expectations. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and the modernist of thinking on only and practices. binary. the by to cannot be reduced example. the understanding Second. Hale the scripted of trans sexuality. bodies. ethnic. of organizing also / December this binary to the study of social life but limit their attention to it as an identity formation much like other any constructed socially 1987. many predictable behaviors people nature This identity.52. social the homosexual/heterosexual Many 2005 regulating and disclosure.

In other words. parameters. of gender relationship term of agency that is.75 on Tue.168. Racial and gender identi ties. encourages structures or altering forces For so on." the false forces that construct to this civil challenging that construct individual 1992. and in these identity in both the development are gender How general? gay rethinking of gender and the hetero by do social crosscutting and desire. Stein for a support example. complicates than Rather dualism. In culture. for example. In this This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. mainly these creation to gain material exercise their identities collec enactment cultural. as derived subject. with as products constructed identities gender constrained partly associated resources and material labeling. As we see will in the questions below.52. One structure in social these identities and are that way tomany socially this way. external that and identities. of meaning This social of Black. can groups enact their individual identities in different ways or mobilize to change structure the institutional tively different of the meaning understanding movements and feminist antiracist. the by various the of identi is through their sociologists. are the power and Wacquant to the social self collapses material those identity from on to reflect the capacity or that can either change reproduce to the enactment A queer approach this of Latino. and eco the self. identity in terms experienced of con and other these social differences? Identity. and shaped and stabilized. are not infinitely flexible but are imposed by the power of the state and various other social institutions (Omi and Winant 1986). enactment to the and agency cultural about precisely and woman. Within these broad institutional and individuals however. structure between from the environment. the social and in this these the self. Performing Most structure between institutionalization of and agency. and by the force of externally imposed political naming (Giddens 1987). It sees the self as the manifold of sexual structure/agency this dualism notion a view 1989). the categories structure/agency paradigm as partly autonomous self these constraining are capable viduals exist forces of rejecting in their lives (Bourdieu though that has the self is a social of of understanding identity situating approach "human nomic discursive as the the according and interact for the conscious with and the operation of of the thus there paradigm. and provide ofthat self. these indi forces even is a core environment self in ways identities and social. rights. according ties become enactment sexual understand sociologists interaction Power Rethinking the social identities and learning social scripts.Valocchi and interests from emergent the dominant this or heterosexual or any 755 ENOUGH cannot of differences intersection of homosexual categories YET QUEER / NOT be other captured single by identity category. study form of regulation sexual/homosexual differences How sexuality: sexual sex are and gender gay that are not practices and experienced individuals experience how affect poses several identity operate ways does and organized subsumed How organized? sexual new as a and social life in of social subjectivity binary how versely. a queer (Stein 1989). 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the autonomous and unconscious agency.

rather than the expres of a core sion of the repeated from original and or an essence self gender performance which gender are identities that defines of certain and the cultural sexual individual. agency & SOCIETY / December 2005 creation. signs are derived. forces that both call the social actor into existence themanifold as sway the the performa tivity of gender and sexual identity (Butler 1989). (Stein sexuality tend Sociologists to view power as an external force operat ing through social institutions to limit the life chances of some groups and expand those of other is of the self: The is constitutive power subject cultur and the normative structures.168. of power natural set of norms for granted and Valocchi or go 2003. and "reversed the discourse" from gory and sick heterosexuality's to healthy and normal.756 GENDER view. and subjectivity derives from amodel of power different from that used by most sociologists of gender and 1989). systems. self-regulating and even in political and changes economy operating change are backgrounded actor in this approach. meaning through the that circulate internalize in society. and is a social itself if any. identity. binary This is captured theorists. systems meaning but unanchored in the culture. The category and sex of object choice continued of self. ofthat social shape movement the category homosexual the gay liberation did not eliminate sex of object an irrelevant or unmarked choice social characteristic. unconsciously and institutions or unmarked As or inways discursive works the above and discourses institu in social that organize concept theory's means the set of hetero of norms that as that organize homosexuality to maintain the dominance of heterosexu its from being a form of sexuality that can be taken in the way heterosexuality right of heterosexuality the dominance thatmake and queer can seem a result. social subjects (Foucault that promote often (Corber operates it particularly difficult to identify. 101) by changing themeaning opposite. not the ensemble of This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. identities constituted "performatively by are In this the very and unconscious to the norms adherence and cultural is no sexual view.75 on Tue. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions social . or make of the cate (Foucault 1980. structure by heteronormativity or right and ality by preventing homosexuality mative 1977. Butler's (1993) understanding of performativity. clinics. actors. individuals become mass media. This make movements. and as a core component deviant of sexuality signifier This is best understanding sole captured by Butler's Judith was it simply as still marked to hold on work example. occurs within the resistance registered social by actor against For the resistance these same forces.52. seem heterosexuality opposite. internalized by individuals. Individuals taxonomies as are circulated of and the discourses they by by gender sexuality groups. of expressions gender and sexuality thought to produce them" (Corber and Valocchi conscious the effect There The 2003. But in and constituted prescribed ally norms generated social institutions In so doing. 1980). for Butler. For Butler. from foregrounded.4).4). sexu of signifiers ality and gender both bring the subject into being and constrain the identity enactments ofthat subject (Butler 1993). that structure. Institutional social existing tions are understanding For queer normativity. such as schools. identities and conventions. It is this nor is foregrounded.

Finally. the several drag performances and femininity that femininity members audience drag queens the coherence regarding between anatomical sex. explore to evaluate monograph above the categories are experienced ments of a queer the elements analysis Each monographs. described and to My purpose here is to build on the queer aspects of these monographs show the additional sociological insights that can be gained by taking queer analy sis seriously. claims relationship quite explicitly of gender gender. and lined above to push of sex. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions by gay gender that is . and. study an of queer and of con analysis point ongoing nature and sociology. Bettie of component than one these how align (2003) and Schippers that construct it. are being heterosexuality performed to rethink the naturalness of sexual and and "combine maleness and femaleness and and in a way This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. of gendered and selves? in these agency sexual and 757 ENOUGH QUEER be extended the conscious of performativity beyond norms our to the of gender explain adoption everyday can we an analysis How of discursive incorporate the concept ual see below. Rupp and Taylor (2003) use their extensive categories As they sexuality. namely. tenets of The following a queer queer of identity analysis sec out ways. Can of transgressions and gendered sex that operates power subtly but pervasively into a discussion of gender and sexual power inequality that still recognizes the material and political impact of social institutions? In the following cal important queer that by paradigm and Taylor nent). traditional the fact queens men to challenge The boundaries.75 on Tue. posed questions in their sexuality engage every treatment of of component the Collec intersectionality. a queer to apply to the another opportunity analysis analysis two monographs of gender sociology these various a particular on more (2002) the sociologi of four the arguments focus and gender. associated with to the of heteronormativity concern important another some in everyday the instabilities and incoherences the concept (and sex. four offer and works and sexuality discourses the compo the nonnormative explore life. APPLYING A QUEER ANALYSIS Gendering Drag Sexuality: at the 801 Queens Cabaret InDrag Queens at the 801 Cabaret. They apply of heterosexuality in so doing. theory I use section. Rupp across alignments outlined (2000) of engage tention between this these tively.52.168. also use in queerer engagement and the sexuality. of the power. thinking about the construction questions YET and structure. and enacted on focuses and analysis extend and and Seidman (2003) heterosexuality. The drag heterosexuality" (p.Valocchi we As up new opens sexual about power. will / NOT ways selves. but engagement that between engagement in their concerns with the performativity alignments this describe of a serious the products especially the nonnormative tion will are works These theory and sociology gender. and the that identity formation. "reject to make observations participant and sexual or mock use and argue. intentionally 117). queer theory paradigm above.

in subjectivity in nature as defined by the sex of object choice. the bemoan queens same time. 37). is and who attracted to. for Sushi and Gugi." look closely gay regarding Two men in the gender who describe of construction desire Their femininity we find evidence.." men. 38). that cannot drag queens perform cultural critique by highlighting and identities gender between This work's the and anatomical sex.e. man gendered ently of to be I preferred that she when explicit relationship "I don't know who seem In these more ways. sexual boy discussing gendered of object the basis of Out state that they are not queens sex together was with a differ masculine is a critique on sexuality observations about to be a a woman. of it in their everyday not think not mean lives of that themselves their presents as identities. observations subjectivity. but some do that does (p. 78). They using as heterosexual or homosexual" be characterized (p. everyday tion of nature constructed "erotic to capture these identities. As Rupp and Taylor (2003. Although Rupp and Taylor (2003) do not pursue this point. (i. differently seem to capture these this complexity. 36). again. of gender the of in and sexuality in the construc and sexuality taxonomies gender.. to extend or per Butler's This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. gender sexual interest in the performativity performances core components essentialist critique of a queer the relationship and the inability identity.52. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions as . say they nature the of implicit in these taxonomy choice of sexual iden and drains those to cap is inadequate the category gay in terms of how it is experienced. 126). 126). (2003) theoretical focus is on the collective Rupp and Taylor's "a gender category at their ethnographic queenness. I feel likemyself the norms and friends to one attracted fact that that they sexual the only time in a threesome). transgendered outside identity of "drag or masculinity" several additional the drag (p. I feel like I'm acting. the normative alignments identity.. When the drag relationships. gendered of the drag yet at the The the dominant whether subjectivity. they someone is who (i. "being a drag queen has to do with being in some sense (p. and role. 34-36) point out. categories inadequate to the life histories statements these When of the other drag queens. identity sex. themselves terms.758 GENDER hard to describe" / December & SOCIETY 2005 conventional evoke categories (p. In drag. statements talks Iwanted (p. available the several engage clearly the performativity of these of sexual the performativity of desire In sum.75 on Tue. compared to which in the extent the public that there are differences also suggest performance they heterosexual in their of their gendered Taylor women" formance (2003) sexual desire than homosexual sexuality is congruent with their off-stage note. attracted to them. desiring sex someone same not of But and with the gendered having gender)... sexual queens' as gay their sexual experience not seem to be homosexual does If we 5). transgendered" makes Gugi her sexual and gender subjectivity: woman or because I was this to men attracted if it is because drag. and that defines tity categories categories ture these are of their men's desire. of gender and sexuality and how these of notions analysis: between life. Clearly. As Rupp and "between has sexuality an opportunity no genders The gender.e. object is the primary feature of their sexual desire (p. and another.168. to drag to normatively queens. "gay guys are attracted aren't attracted they had In addition.

sociologists identity occurs. conceptually they interrelate they of sex. shape and finds that only generations For the most neighborhoods culture has from historical the concept of the closet to of of heterosexual in and state-driven pollution to a culture and of normalization dominance change. at the same the continued in of these time. is a theory of gender to explore how queens suggest and variable process. could extension of performativity. up" norms fragile. the closet interviews. fully drag This 759 ENOUGH QUEER the public performances beyond lives. Seidman the social "homosexual this their that sexual Seidman Using an illustrates This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. is still firmly however. a queer us toward a nature of sexed and gendered subjectivities. analysis pushes more and of of and the intersection gender deeper complicated understanding which as alternative well in which ways these axes sexuality. YET / NOT Rupp and Taylor (2003) illustrate how a queer analysis highlights the limitations of the dominant identity categories for capturing the complexity of people's lives. the ways noticing as the dominant by recognizing are combined of difference in particu to the performative and historical and by paying attention lar cultural contexts. say they are gay shaping people's understandings men even as they tell the ethnographers and back stories that foreground gender The drag queens consider themselves part of the gay community ground sexuality. in place. film from the 1960s through the 1990s. Since performativity can utilize and sexual itmore formation. The drag as construct perfor By in nonnormativity. and sexuality provide particularly these norms how of the drag much about are needed the power taken con up. with their relationships family. or or communities. Using to the refer lesbians narrate of power of and women uses generation and structure men interviews their he the sexual language lives different of the closet. by different groups of individuals.52.Valocchi (1989) analysis of the performativity and queens empirical of norms into their everyday to the concept grounding regarding and gender sciously or unconsciously. power they demonstrate categories The drag queens of themselves. yet even as they report varying degrees of marginality announce queens mances that their gay the highlight on identity "trials and the within even stage tribulations" gender and then and sexuality gender. The Limits The Transformation of Gay Identity: of Gay the Closet: Beyond and Lesbian Life Steven Seidman's (2002) Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life seeks to uncover the changing meaning of gay and lesbian identity by men interviewing and women came who of at different age throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. 24) of the 1950s in the 1980s and 1990s.168. Seidman argues repression" liberalization argues recent Seidman is not changed one periods of identity. To account for this shift. Despite that a culture analysis of Hollywood the older of gays use to generation the metaphor these individuals or at work. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and sexuality and Taylor's socialization gender Rupp that this process of "taking is an unstable. in concrete social situations. the affecting changing and 1960s (p. separating that community.75 on Tue.

4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a 1999). that power tity risks reading a post-Stonewall the 1950s and The 1960s. pride" the material these that are his identities analysis. tine bar raid by police of riots series and the construction As sociologists their segmentation This desire and women Men from applied "came the post-Stonewall public to everyone. family relationship. counterculture's social and with dramatically was the transformation to a core cast the self about to mobilize increasingly in the notion of gay identity.GENDER 760 & SOCIETY has shifted from "the polluting gay" to "the nor how the image of homosexuality as citi are made and included lesbians visible gays mar are gender as as we sex to link love and conventional. Thus. Related unitary nature discursive of power that queers Seidman's coupling discursive and of gay and notions (p. minority queer and "finding "lesbian" uncovers demonstrates and "gay" by the the became incoherence the limitations in the nature of reducing of component identities the assertions need movement's public to one's 1956). notion a from derives gay liberation discourse of "coming out" and "the closet" of the 1970s and is itself a of discursive formation ual politics. Thus.52. shapes It is this understanding His closet. other alongside movement. a film in Hollywood and constraining to this insight is his rejection of a demonstration a queer of feature that with homophobia images of homosexuality circulating of power (2002) analysis of the state-sponsored enabling particular identity formations. 189). Reisman and shapes that deconstruction. as have identity changed them has changed. Without of identity-based understandings in thinking of sexual This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. the fifties and sex and sexual hours of 28 June 1969 touched off a era of organizing about 1961). homosexual engaged a new writing role a Greenwich Inn was collective self-understandings of the closet and of lesbian and gay identity back into definition in the early morning spurred a gay limits the analysis Stonewall of encouraged 1963. about in and component homosexuality terms (Valocchi analysis and general key sixties lesbians (Lexnoff andWestley being A and necessary in a national carefully out" during this period. (Chauncey authenticity a constituency. personify In other mal gay. Iwant to build on these queer features of the analysis to historicize more deeply and thus deconstruct further the notion of gay identity that Seidman's (2002) ethnographic use participants to describe This themselves. and involved meaning the closet?of liberation gay of of meaning a rou engagements social circle that one was a homosexual The and reticence it in ways organized in periodically lives but practiced a iden bar where Village by gays identity.168.75 on Tue. 2005 / December of a materialist analysis of dominant a view reflects of as power of analysis at many and gay lesbian his and identity constructed?another torically both levels. climate but that meant different something out?changed of this change from influenced Greatly decades one's men Many on premised these suggest. by historicizing the to oneself admitting a role by and yourself (Mills sexuality had and women who as something for the times. as "we national and display individualism." as long zens riage-like lesbian and words. or as something to important of hostility and repression. the meaning of 2000). long as long as we defend economic values.

One of the ironies of Seidman's (2002) analysis the fight a tough queers (e. ture of "the community" subjectivities that construct and iden sexual of the utility and the ade the story of Renee. As and this system relationship there are no sense Here 53) (2002. and subcul also see the important place of if it elicited especially to unsettle the the potential an an empirical of example and of Rupp Taylor's analysis is that the naming of and then as a mark of progress for gays the homosexual/heterosexual inscribing commitments in the official of accommodation. deeper a process the closet.761 Valocchi /NOT YET QUEER ENOUGH or subjectivity and to the currently self-awareness sexual dominant of gay taxonomies straight.75 on Tue. of gender gender notes. gender social networks. requires a matter gender and of homophobia this concept and system describes been explore classification Although also to sexual coming gender can analysis sexuality's queerly nonconformity the concept quacy and is now language a linear constructing interviews "managing of who and closet tity. because and insight to describe as read Seidman it tells for what again liv of stories several be As is at the heart still are terms where her differently gendered Seidman can queerness. That most and their lives to the power speaks the in institutionalizing the movement of used the language of the closet interviewees (2002) to describe out" "coming success the of Seidman's of language and the metaphor in our culture. against of has the consequence in public life and of drained that the core her and the het subjectivity in part by the gay and les drag queens." Queer our dominant of self. and other historical texts (Chauncey 1994. reports." has providing a queer is taken at narrative. that foreground gender.. Renee's of her sexual desire. dominant alternative sexual this. in the available readily is of which the goal era for of the pre-Stonewall not the operative It was language self-knowledge. that after Stonewall.g. We in policing the nature conformity gender about information sexuality the closet. 55). is the core component that sexual notion identity these Approaching to the intersection in the ing manage Both this has sexuality. Howard 1999. marginalized the organizations.52. Fel lows 1994). self-awareness to describe as a "masculine herself narrative. sev would reveal interviews these queerly sexuality." "gender of between slippage sexual the forces based (2002. can easily be read in transgendered It is a binary butch on 49) woman. Vining 1979). are self was the key to her sexual subjectivity. memoirs (Duberman 1991. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions and binary move . of self. novels (White 1982). the This in the present. from lesbians) classification system sex/gender closet proved sexual and gender constructed system by like lesbians. understanding Approaching the and associated closet of the from the eral departures language identity-driven of the self. Katz 1975) suggests that these stories are." told of the past to narrate "stories culture of the gay and lesbian This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192." see we of men stories erosexual/homosexual bian movement transsexuals. (2003) drag queens does for gay gender. once closely listening of fact. Evi dence from diaries (Russell 1993. As "the Ren?e's binary. much was nonconventionality (Wilchins 2002. like most life histories. that binary.168. of managing us about to attempts to gender.

defined choice is a core by sex of object component and autonomy calls analysis state and sexual any attention the discursive to realize politics to both sources these Performing Intersectionality: Women without Class: Girls. of high groupings school and their ily experience. Warner 1999). critiquing 2005 analysis and cultural state-sponsored homophobia the language but of the movement?the autonomy. 53). of power: the material that identity sexual sociological of power to the responded sexual limit the state. to the discursive demonstrating of power the heterosexual specifically of component the hetero/homo binary. but it has. for themost part. Bettie's (2003) thinking about intersectionality is informed by queer theory.168. by their the subject (Bettie 2003. Bettie American and racial. and their class subjectivity is ethnically and racially inflected. of Not of power. and Iden tity examines the multiple heterosexual identities. The following two studies go a this:Women without Class takes up Butler's (1989) great distance in accomplishing notion of performativity and applies it to intersectional identities. stated As a queer earlier. and the utility of performativity as a mode of acquiring social subjectivity for the study of heterosexuality. By & SOCIETY / December a queer this binary. Queer and ethnicity. and analyzes sense make gender the ways of life chances. "caught in unconscious Bettie nonetheless class performances. par class as the ticularly Butler's (1989. is a regulatory class. and politics (Gagne and Tewkesbury 2002. girls different one to collapse that ostensibly social their themselves.75 on Tue. Julie Bettie's (2003) ethnography Women without Class: Girls. Race. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . representations notion that that the movement of power the analysis deepens do only that regime asserts that the homosexual/heterosexual theory structures of social and political many aspects life. Rockin 'out of the Box takes up as heteronormativity individuals can use the instabilities a regime of and power inherent in heterosexual how demonstrates identity to resist this regime. culture. If it is to be useful to sociology in general. ence into another. Bettie white girls class.52. limited itself to addressing how that regime affects homosexual identity. is constructed by displays views These the per of cultural capital This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. their ethnic subjectivity is class inflected. binary and sexual self?also limits A queer autonomy. "rather these girls. its conceptual bring relationship race.762 GENDER ment. Recognizing less visible these girls as class do not preexist girls formance" axis of social difference among are constructed who subjects the performance. itmust extend its concerns with the instabilities and incoherences of gay identity to all identity-based thinking. Refusing these working-class their social experience argues within subjectivities that and schooling form of social and middle-class world racial and complexly fam differ Mexican and inter sectionally: Their gender subjectivity is class and racially inflected. Identity the study to of homosexuality goes beyond to the study of heterosexuality and apparatus to gender axes of social and other such as difference analysis theoretical and heterosexuality's Race. 1993) notion of performativity.

cultural discourse of the middle-class the postfeminist middle-class staff of the school who excoriate na?ve. 52). deriving family's and in the ethnography. class operate in the formation of these girls' sexual subjectivities. on class. Bettie to the arena and sexuality of gender of certain the repeated performance Butler's class yet unlike origins. not did the norms comprising and ethnic theoretical to these sexuality signs treatment performative. relationship class position. immigrant norms and In several tent axes class class.75 on Tue. conditions. cul situation. 192). gender. class in large part from their resource by their material origins. by as perceive they She resources. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . have they will an ambivalent chicas of resistance the extent can as a function foregrounding and that gender the ways the ethnography ambivalences surrounding Mexican American working-class girls romance as a way of heterosexual of resisting of class To (2003) hear the get where and incoherences. Bettie (Bettie 2003." to acquire began performative difference are discursive. among affection. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. In this way. on instances formed class class of signifiers conditions. but statuses. sexual apply Bettie's identities. to the girls also extends sex the chicas exploring and autonomy that we of rejection seem to possess family without Although to normative the an traditional inchoate or marriage never explicitly heterosexuality. could of The from economic example.52. the discourse discourse gendered and coupling. identities. of working performers of middle-classness. learned allocation. of associated conventions location or habitus" origin the performativity and in so doing grounds subjectivities Class of class of 763 so with We in that white girls (the preps) and the these girls for being childlike and by that we see an openness see a also they and their these intimacy. can which in rooted Some "middle con the cultural "learned capital per consciously and association. their inmaterial those subjectivities in but not dictated is rooted various (p. Additional insights for they identity of economic and political inequalities the conscious from of manipulation more rooted those behaviors firmly changed. sexuality ual desire and sexual pleasure. different one not predicted in ways to perform and extends the other. that result as performance systems and thus less able resources. do not see within the prep girl awareness The the imitation of conditions. about asking We to be By be seen they do subculture. In these ways. as nature that for in the also fledgling (the girls' This of in so doing of and limitations the girls adopting heterosexual without couple that they a relationship these girls explored. originally the basis performances intersectional explore heterosexual chicas) arena ethnic their (2003) constructs class queerly by show and form example. with along axes of resource their status. those lies in the variable power of the ethnography material by material displayed by these girls derives tural capital unconsciously ity. systems signifying are also material. cultural interplay between the of conditions. a class ing its complexly the axes of social their hand.168. norms these to a way points intersectional their own" of with associated in the rooted to behaviors refers rethinking These analysis. and and in material open up when we possibilities of their and analysis the meanings. racial. be dependent.Valocchi /NOT YET QUEER ENOUGH that are a consequence Butler's analysis are identities and the effect Bettie's performativity.

instruments.52. and Hard of the participants identities." in this working-class resists students for Kate. associated dis smokers. and symbolic and homosexual/ as gen to this practice Schippers subverting or it so as order the and gender twisting existing changing "taking the patterns of structuration that keep the hierarchical relationship refers guitars. the feminist.764 & SOCIETY GENDER to foreground a lesbian of Kate. bic than prep culture subculture and then one recent sis is Mimi in the area book comfortable Schippers's in Alternative Maneuvering Hard Rock. that assert these women's or these women's in general Men do not "hit on" women: male-focused typical sexual signifiers of leadership privileged posi and The norms culture of rock music. eschew rock the alternative that the ways of man/women binaries analy out of the Box: Gender analysis on focuses a queer that uses sexuality Rockin' their meaning.75 on Tue. in the early of Chicago that in Alternative of gender (2000) "the school comfortable intersectional and Sexuality: Gender Performing ' out of the Box: Gender Maneuvering Rockin systems and Kate way more proves is more thus utility of further queering Bettie's subculture whom inter (2003) is in her brief associates 132). Girls "kick ass": women traditional role the dominant rework or alter reinforce. and but deploy and the music or audience tion as groupies subvert of interaction vocals and members. the misogynist hard-hitting phobic they and femininity that create. get crushes the music. of gender and sexuality the meanings that one way this group of high mentions a blatant is through of normative "rejection masculinity" A comes Bettie class to do with has subculture. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions the . Part of this downwardly class mobile per Since 134). is a good They nonhomo attraction Here with strategies and pair their in this subculture adopt many them The culture is still highly sexualized." subculture. identity. Schippers's (2000) ethnographic participants engage maneuvering see analysis. in ways "rock": and antisexist. fourth to know. the she "hangs out" with background. (p. (p. 119). Schippers's nineties is is expressed less homopho and Here femi of conventions sexuality do gender and sexuality differently by using the practices.168. express the lyrics typically associated with rock music rules male of in gender associated systems meaning and straight and gay through interactional lyrics. lens cussion Bettie culture the prep and with this through gender. culture female sexual and "hot. the norms femininity in rock bands drums. ethnography. but that ethos is not rooted strictly in terms of or sex of object "make out" with other women choice: Women on male men for female band members. whom student than rather sexuality a smoker's enacts and the utility of shifting Bettie's and gender working-class girls a middle-class from comes Kate formance ninity white of group Although smokers 2005 place where we observe Another sectional the / December example and vocals of using make the and band the participants in the sub queer about insights This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. Girl bands with scene members. whereby masculinity the Rock between masculinity and femininity in tact" (p. with heterosexual and der maneuvering: to not reproduce the hierarchical we again. Time and again.

for example. Here we have inequalities in nonheteronormative ways. In these ways. and the subcultural space is still unambiguously heterosexual." class gender It also ways. can also in this subculture performed those For example. to other of that binary tionship sexual is in used "bitch" to those gender the young in common. of the subculture may binary still retains its force in fashioning their identities. and the inequality. suggestive and material of conversation possibility middle-class themselves least that exist of the participants if not a sociologically nature of power axes In gentrification their middle the fact that and a suburban from their new neighbors with whom in material bitch the participants in the subcul and sexual alternative gender are ways of this subculture among that and is accom perform In addition. negative maneuvering class using women this power. the analysis is explicitly guided by the queer insights regarding the discursive power of the binary and the ways in which and gender of material systems These in this and analyzing A are uality of course class addition. nifiers of the of toward their subjectivities. progressive.75 on Tue. to articulate women white that make are revalorize race the rootedness further to investigate identities used the subculture power queer push the ethnography racial in nonidentitarian deployed the discursive subculture. and class from possible some of their the as lower ture. is behavior and attitudes to construct stereotypes and in ability middle consequences.Valocchi / NOT of gender to illustrate and sexuality built into those binaries. can explore analysis in the homosexual/hetero queer that binary. interactions structure larger ited within that by their bodies." the "slut" or "red-neck. Schippers of gender analysis as some to the binaries ostensibly 765 ENOUGH QUEER resistance performativity Similar to the approach taken by Bettie YET sig violence of male and men but the heterosexual/homosexual identity. the discursive since the class claim topic frequent the additional of subjectivities and inflected subjectivities this subculture existed "invasion. and be insights about political about insights race when class can sexuality by the sociological guided in aesthetic informed embedded for dismantling they terms. into the rockers Their subculture. erotic unhinge and from of gender analysis are contested in the social these their of signifiers heterosexual to transform interactions traditional structure the but power.168. of these binaries to foreground issues and of class use of and (and nonnormative) gender sexuality that takes would analysis intersectionality seriously be through naming sexist and homophobic plished discursively class power. sex and gender young the distance no with these participants' how and to claim labels it is precisely coded racially enlightened the possibilities binary. a presents they symbolically much have In these and and thus as the ways in which labels sexual many of these stereotypes of slut they in themidst of neighborhood distance at ways. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions rela . This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. women The unchecked. structure. acting her mainly discursive couple even and sexual inequality. fashion inequality.52. desire is careful to (2000) a structural with inequalities a resistance still exists within gender of their transgressions and the impact is indeed lim The women of the subculture. larger femininity women goes of and heterosexual (2003). identities.

they each of these dimensions. inequality. and gender. sexuality. reality subjectivities. subjectivity is also suggested a queer As can by this examination. taking of gender to include identity sexual and range ing of power the nonnormative seriously formations and (5) treating the construction of intersectional as both performed subjectivities we queer theory.168. These are (1) queering the relationship between sex. the about about how these Although the unconscious emphasize of gender conventions and sexuality theory's of identity sensibility in social would texts resources. nature the gendered nature but patterned from derived interrogate nature the sexualized and the complex of gender.75 on Tue. which this are also the through Butler of repetition (and that (2003) and Schippers subjectivities ethnicity. can sociologists sociological lenses that article use when a presents doing set of work empirical in the area of gender and sexuality. plishments. with race. queer class. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I have wanted the advantages a queer a num to to of using and and also identify approach study gender sexuality can be extended to better ber of ways in which in sociology queer cap approaches ture the complicated of gender and sexual and prac identities. constrained by rooting the discursive possibilities nature of identity with performative The It also institutions. the work of Bettie and sexual illustrate. two these can be combined hierarchical. and sexual identities. also of Butler's embellishes enactment the repeated by are identities to the power queer analysis rooting performativity and regulations of these contribute anti-identitarian posture in that symbolic interaction's This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. are performances tural other theorists and normative edly part of this dynamic). these variables. but performance. of analysis performativity and hierarchies words. practices.52. tices. sensibility rooted one suggests (1993) the cul is undoubt (2000) shows interactional accom interactionist symbolic understanding to illustrate the ways in which analysis can the ways in which be reconstructed. the enactment of identities is an or accomplishment of array forces a sociological this way. across axes of social of human various difference. masculinity and femininity. It also dovetails a queer are deeply constrained. as well and performative. As Bettie (2003) and Schippers (2000) quite rightly point out. analysis of on insistence the material of grounding it an understand (4) broadening as other discursive formations. of identity subjectivities and the ways nicely with As gender. texts also theory's mechanism is accomplished. these conceptual Using guidelines can rethink the nature and resistance of power and ology's across alignments identity or to conflate the tendency to essentialize (3) resisting the benefit discursive from soci of constructions sexed bodies. Unlike other and concepts queer analytical this analyses. the broad with (2) sexuality. racial. institutional that understanding of intersectionality social construction in the social and In other gender.766 GENDER & SOCIETY 2005 / December THE FUTURE OF QUEER SOCIOLOGY to highlight In examining these four monographs. theoretically a sociological of gender and sexuality queer signs these of norms of power works these constrained. in the rules. that class. in which power pervades queer and In notion of (1993) enriches from resulting a queer combine an by heteronormativity.

Finally. graphic best suited lived experiences which cultural. by to research. larger resources methods. by methodologies. This affinity between queer theory and ethnographic methods derives from some common able-based. people's or numerical interviews. images on how their emphasis individuals For times many enterprise.168. and quantitative are its reliance on ethnography truth. these throughout they seem ethno these undercut to and are and taxonomies created. and subjectivities and experiences and institutional these allocated. practices. between to develop Ethnography that can article can into the field: serve call these Using attention as a queer attention paying construct their practices are organized these practices the to tools different coherent is levels that framework to the practices sexual and gender into and that this method to these theoretical classifica classification researchers provided the rely methodol systems alternative gives that approaches have contrast. and related to this emphasis on practices rather than identities. other by both as representation: in queer theory in its culturally mediated relationship variable-based Quantitative. the classification that shared ethnography observed. queer theory focuses on the gap between a theoretical with coupled of interpretation. and understand used concepts queer for capacity vari in the field. example. individuals claim certain even identities as take shape.Valocchi on practices enactments identity can focus / NOT to the inconsistencies point to the dominant in relation YET and ENOUGH QUEER of incoherences 767 individuals' taxonomies. to measure used social processes do indeed cap Second. The queer or classification concepts to observe it is hard ogies. objective. subjectivities contexts of with to graphies. As these employs ethnographic to the concepts of mentioned above application a and sexuality to the compli requires sensitivity sexuality the demonstrate. methods. amply claims through their practices and their (sometimes unstable) desires and subjectivities. "objective" observer contrast.75 on Tue. model lived experiences. indicators accurately those who First. this to the of individuals. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. 4 Dec 2012 05:03:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . describe. the and assume always social or and real agnostic social reality emphasize and necessarily in sociology. about their or ambivalent Both that something not assumptions used methodologies discourse between ture not epistemological going these to which data. tivities. individuals' actual behaviors schemes both systems to or help elucidate correspond be subsumed within those may processual the initial used categories on surveys.52. systems. Ethnographic done in interac development schemes and the observations and of concept of the incongruities and even harder the research. secondary or out laid already prior developed in the process ethnographers uals engage named and identify. assume scientists interests of methods rely tion between on participation conducted tion systems a more can in and the degree use how theory discerning and ethnography theory or used in the culture do by motivations. these lives where Ethno power. it is not surprising that each of themonographs used here to illustrate the utility of queering the of sociology texts achieve and gender this of gender queering cated and multilayered social within settings the are discursive. given create meaning. classification these incongruities framework in this Quantitative individ subjec identities.

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