Jacques Rancière on the Shores of Queer Theory
Samuel A. Chambers & Michael O'Rourke
This special issue of Borderlands proposes to consider an engagement that has never occurred, between two fields of thought that have never been (and have often resisted becoming) proper ‘fields'...Despite being well aware ourselves that queer theory, even broadly construed, has shown little interest in the writings of Rancière, and despite understanding fully that Rancière has at best entirely ignored, at worst actively disdained, the work of queer theory, we chose to make this wager (as did, in their own unique ways, the authors who responded to our invitation to write and whose work constitutes this issue) for a number of significant reasons. First, even a superficial reading of Rancière’s conception of politics and police orders, of his understanding of subjectivization (assujetissement), of his theory of the subject as ‘in-between’ reveals powerful affinities with queer theory’s thinking of norms, subversion, and subjectivity as positionality, as relationality. More felicitously, the logic of the tort, which is so central to Rancière's thinking of politics, may share an etymological link with the word queer. Furthermore, a number of thinkers working in and around queer theory, including such influential figures as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Adrian Rifkin,, and Lauren Berlant, have also taken a keen interest in Rancière – despite not necessarily bringing these areas of interest together in any explicit way.
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© borderlands ejournal 2009