neoliberal queer



Neoliberal discourses proclaim that free market access guarantees individual freedom and self-determination. Furthermore, the label of diversity promises to finally recognize formerly excluded differences. At the same time, neoliberal forms of liberalization domesticate, commercialize, and normalize difference. Gay and lesbian ways of living provide just one of many examples in this context. Institutionalized politics that postulate integration and use rhetoric of tolerance go hand in hand with the creation of new consumer subjectivities. So-called pink economy and creative industries discover sexual identity as an economic factor. At the same time, the precarization of jobs requires the labour force to deploy difference as cultural capital, hence to market one’s “otherness” and to perform it in accordance with existing stereotypes.

Neoliberal discourses proclaim that free market access guarantees individual freedom and self-determination. Furthermore, the label of diversity promises to finally recognize formerly excluded differences. At the same time, neoliberal forms of liberalization domesticate, commercialize, and normalize difference. Gay and lesbian ways of living provide just one of many examples in this context. Institutionalized politics that postulate integration and use rhetoric of tolerance go hand in hand with the creation of new consumer subjectivities. So-called pink economy and creative industries discover sexual identity as an economic factor. At the same time, the precarization of jobs requires the labour force to deploy difference as cultural capital, hence to market one’s “otherness” and to perform it in accordance with existing stereotypes.

Do these developments indicate that queer politics got integrated into the societal mainstream of neoliberal market logics, and thus lost their radical grip? Does “homonormativity” (Lisa Duggan) complement heteronormativity in securing the capitalist economy? Or are there queer positions that contribute to inventing alternative economies, which foster sexual and social justice simultaneously?

FORMER EVENTS

Butler Trouble: Queerness and Violence

Terrell Carver suggests in his talk that there is not very much queering in Butler’s political work on violence, whereas a queered view of that work – offered here – could take Freud and Nietzsche where Donald Trump fears to tread.

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Sexuality and Economy

research group (Berlin), 2007-2010

The research group focuses on thinking about the entire range of relationships that link sexuality, gender, and economics. How are the histories of capitalism and sexuality interconnected? Are changes in what Foucault calls the deployment of sexuality overlap with the development of capitalism? A historical perspective provides a framework for further questions: How can a queer theoretical critique of heteronormativity contribute to the critique of capitalism? How can we resist the dominance of capitalism and the heteronormative structuring of gender and sexuality? Which alternative models and queer (economic) utopias are thinkable – and liveable? In 2007 a two-day workshop discussed these questions extensively. The workshop built on outcomes from regular meetings that took place prior to the event in order to come up with ideas for an international conference. Major topics included: Rethinking capitalism from a monolithic concept into heterogeneous capitalisms; the role of desire in upholding or transforming capitalist relations; the promise and problems of pleasurable identification with labour relations under neoliberal conditions.

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Gaga Feminism:
Rethinking Queer Anarchy

Jack Halberstam
lecture and discussion, Silverfuture, Berlin, 27. January 2013

Jack Halberstam, creator of ‘gaga feminism’, talks about the gagafeminist harbinger of change, which is radically transforming our understanding of kinship, gender, and sexuality. Jack and Jana Günther discuss how to accelerate this change through becoming “gaga“ ourselves, and the connections to anarchism that are involved.

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Encountering Sexual Aliens:
State Sovereignty and the Heteronormative Mechanism
at Work on the Margins of Taiwan

Antonia Chao
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 4
Talk 24. April 2012, ICI Berlin

Based on ethnographic research conducted on Taiwan’s three crucial sites of national borders, this talk mines the intersections between border control, state sovereignty, national belonging and “perverted sexualities”. The focus will be on three forms of subjects, perceived as “sexual aliens”, whose trans-migratory acts violate the principle of biological and heterosexual reproduction .

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The Cost of Getting Better:
Ecologies of Race, Sex, and Disability

Jasbir Puar
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 1
Talk, June 7, 2011, 7.30pm, ICI-Berlin

Can affective connectivities and conviviality enable a rethinking of neoliberal stratification? Discourses surrounding queer suicide reproduce problematic assumptions not only about race, class, and gender, but also bodily health, debility, and capacity. Jasbir Puar links this to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project.

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subtle? how sexuality gets racialized

The Subtle Racialization of Sexuality series
Workshop, April 23/24, 2012, TrIQ, Berlin

How is sexuality deployed for political ends? … in official state politics, in the media, in activism? Do political struggles acknowledge intersections between homo- and transphobia, able-bodiedness, and racism? Is “subtle” racialization a euphemism, or does it allow us to point out particular forms of dis/articulating racism? The workshop explores in more depth the discussions initiated by the lecture series „“The Subtle Racialization of Sexuality“ through activating knowledge and experiences from activism and project work.

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Queer critique of neoliberal governmentality and economy

research group (Hamburg/Bremen), 2006-2008.

Questioning the heterosexual norm still provokes political and social resistance and rejection. Nevertheless, late modern societies are experiencing a proliferation of genders and sexualities. Representations of sexual and gender diversity pervade everyday culture, medial spaces, and to a certain degree even official politics. What does it mean to analyse this “new openness” as a moment of neoliberal governmentality and economy? Is there an alliance between neoliberal forces and sexual lifestyles or politics? If so, what is the price, who profits, and which kind of new hierarchies develop? The research group investigates the ambiguity of promise and coercion issued by the neoliberal demand for individualization. We strive for an up-to-date understanding of the relation of sexuality and economics. How does the precarisation of working and living conditions involve the sexual and connect it to other moments of social differentiation? Which new kinds of norms and hierarchies organize late modern sexualities?

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GeoCultures & Panic: Perverted

Irit Rogoff and Ana Hoffner
Lecture and Performance, Berlin ICI, November 24, 2008

The event stages an experimental encounter between GeoCultures: Circuits of Art and Globalisation (Irit Rogoff) and Panic: Perverted (Ana Hoffner). The aim is to figure out what happens to the global migration of bodies and images if an artistic approach, Ana’s performance, and an academic lecture engage in mutual inspiration. What is the role of the contributors, their presentations, and what is the role of the audience in this exchange?

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Feminism
– government’s mission? economic factor? insurrection?

panel discussion, Workshop, Radialsystem, Berlin, 8. August 2008

Did feminism turn into a field of official politics, defined by presidential presidential election campaigns, federal administrations, global economic strategizing, and academic career management? Does it make any sense to combine the terms feminism and insurrection today? How does feminist practice deal with the fact that gender relations are no longer understood as structured exclusively by the category of gender, but by various processes of social differentiation like education, post/colonialism, economic globalization, racism, and heteronormativity? The idea of a simple binary of male versus female is widely challenged. How is this insight taken up by feminisms? Is queer feminism a promising answer to these questions?

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