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The Reification of Desire

The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism

KEVIN FLOYD
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttts5bg
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  • Book Info
    The Reification of Desire
    Book Description:

    The Reification of Desire takes two critical perspectives rarely analyzed together—formative arguments for Marxism and those that have been the basis for queer theory—and productively scrutinizes these ideas both with and against each other to put forth a new theoretical connection between Marxism and queer studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6779-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. introduction: ON CAPITAL, SEXUALITY, AND THE SITUATIONS OF KNOWLEDGE
    (pp. 1-38)

    One evening in December 1996, Judith Butler delivered a plenary presentation that would appear the following year as an essay called “Merely Cultural.”¹ In this essay, Butler posits a certain conservative Marxist reinforcement of schisms within the Left: a representation of “new social movements” as “merely” cultural, a reactionary dismissal of these movements as insufficiently engaged with questions of material production. The plenary itself quickly took on a certain notoriety, for understandable reasons: it was delivered at a conference in Amherst, Massachusetts, sponsored by the journalRethinking Marxism—to an audience, that is, about which we can reasonably assume some...

  4. chapter 1 DISCIPLINED BODIES: LUKÁCS, FOUCAULT, AND THE REIFICATION OF DESIRE
    (pp. 39-78)

    The respective historical narratives unfolded byHistory and Class Consciousnessand the first volume ofThe History of Sexualitycould hardly diverge more radically.¹ This divergence should be understood not merely in terms of the concrete, irreducible differences between “class consciousness” and “sexuality” but also—and more consequentially—in terms of method. Foucault’s narrative is presented by way of a methodological rejection of the dialectical humanism of Hegel, a rejection made more explicit elsewhere in Foucault’s work but informing all of it.² This methodological rejection is easily as fundamental as the allegiance to Hegel that everywhere informsHistory and Class...

  5. chapter 2 PERFORMATIVE MASCULINITY: JUDITH BUTLER AND HEMINGWAY’S LABOR WITHOUT CAPITAL
    (pp. 79-119)

    In the nearly twenty years since the publication of Judith Butler’sGender Trouble,critical Marxian engagements with Butler’s rethinking of gender and indeed with her work more generally, while divergently focused, have tended to converge on a central point: that capital represents an interpretive horizon consistently elided from her analysis.¹ In one of the more provocative variations on this critique, Slavoj Žižek takes Butler to task for limiting her analysis to practices of signification while eliding the Lacanian Real, which is for Žižek precisely what sets limits to these practices—a Real he ultimately identifies with capital itself. Žižek levels...

  6. chapter 3 REIFICATION AS LIBERATION: THEORY, PRACTICE, AND MARCUSE
    (pp. 120-153)

    In his essay “The Affirmative Character of Culture” (1937), Herbert Marcuse proposed—in an almost offhand manner, and without addressing the implications of this claim for any larger tradition of Marxist thought—that “in suffering the most extreme reification man triumphs over reification,” insisting that this triumph would be erotic in nature.¹ In Marcuse’s relatively early work, especially in the work written before his influence within the New Left, he employed the concept of reification in a strikingly new way. Marcuse’s eroticization of this concept would take its most sustained theoretical form inEros and Civilizationand would ultimately be...

  7. chapter 4 CLOSING A HETEROSEXUAL FRONTIER: MIDNIGHT COWBOY AS NATIONAL ALLEGORY
    (pp. 154-194)

    If a single American cultural theorist continues prominently to carry the mantle ofHistory and Class Consciousness,it is certainly Fredric Jameson, who, like Lukács, reads narrative in the terms of an aspiration to totality. His interpretive practice is centrally a practice of allegorical analysis, allegory as a mode of reading rather than writing, a hermeneutic to which he has, at various moments, attached different names, perhaps most notably “transcoding” and “cognitive mapping.”¹ Though I do not want to understate the difference between these two practices—a difference that to a great extent turns on the difference between modernism and...

  8. chapter 5 NOTES ON A QUEER HORIZEN: DAVID WOJNAROWICZ AND THE VIOLENCE OF NEOLIBERALISM
    (pp. 195-226)

    The previous chapter tried to suggest some of the ways in which, at a key moment in the ongoing negotiation of accumulation crisis, capital has mediated the conditions of possibility for, and the gradual consolidation of, what we might from a contemporary vantage call a queer social formation. Though just how to characterize the forms of social regulation that have emerged in the wake of Fordism is a topic of persistent debate, an increasingly central trend in queer studies over the last decade or so has been to understand this regulatory conjuncture in terms of the set of state and...

  9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 227-228)
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 229-254)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 255-270)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 271-271)