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Queer Social Philosophy

Queer Social Philosophy: Critical Readings from Kant to Adorno

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Queer Social Philosophy
    Book Description:

    In Queer Social Philosophy, Randall Halle analyzes key texts in the tradition of German critical theory from the perspective of contemporary queer theory, exposing gender and sexuality restrictions that undermine those texts' claims of universal truth. Addressing such figures as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Adorno, and Habermas, Halle offers a unique contribution to contemporary debates about sexuality, civil society, and politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09143-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: In Which the Terms of a Critique Are Discussed
    (pp. 1-24)

    Could a historically grounded queer critique of social philosophy contribute to new forms of political life? The following pages explore this obviously complicated question. Before we explore how to weave together the elements of the answer, however, and by way of introduction, we need to specify the referent of each term of the question. Doing so will illuminate not only the question’s pertinence but also its fundamentally consequential nature in its relationship to modern life, desire, and philosophy. In this introduction we will consider the termqueerthrough considerations of queer critique, queer politics, and queer history. We then move...

  5. 1 Kant and the Desiring Individual
    (pp. 25-62)

    Indispensable to the history of sexuality and the project of queer theory is the work of Michel Foucault.¹ Just as the cliché about the three influences on Marx, it is possible to suggest that Foucault’s inspiration was drawn primarily from three similar sources: German philosophy, French history, and American sexual economy. Certainly French history’s influence is obvious, and the biographies have made clear the impact of the American sexual economy. In terms of German philosophical influence, the Frankfurt School is underexamined, but Foucault himself made explicit the influence of Nietzsche and Kant.

    In the work of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)...

  6. 2 Hegel and Governmentality
    (pp. 63-96)

    One longer sequence of the 1998 filmGay Courage(Schwuler Mut—100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung), by Rosa von Praunheim, documents a moment of emergence into political emancipation: German gays pouring onto the streets in 1994 to celebrate the repeal of §175 of the legal code. The repeal of this paragraph, the antihomosexual paragraph, was rightly celebrated, for it marked a new decriminalized existence for gay men.¹ The paragraph itself was rarely enforced since the 1970s; nevertheless, its presence in the penal code justified other forms of discrimination. Its repeal constituted the realization of a dream shared by political activists for over...

  7. 3 Marx and the Limits of Emancipation
    (pp. 97-132)

    The struggle has been long and difficult, and despite successes in the United States and Europe, sexual minorities have not yet attained even the political form of emancipation—that is, full citizenship in the state. While efforts in this arena deserve our support, political emancipation has its limits. Marx stated, “Political emancipation is, of course, a big step forward. True, it is not the final form of human emancipation in general, but it is the final form of human emancipation within the hitherto existing world order” (Marx and Engels, 3:115).

    As the preceding chapter revealed, there are fatal/fateful limits to...

  8. 4 Reich, Fromm, Adorno: Latency Paradigms and Social Psychology
    (pp. 133-173)

    Let us return to that point Althusser put to one side in the passage I’ve used as an epigraph. Its goal being not simply to interpret but to change material conditions, Marxism focused on the socius, neglecting the psyche. I have used the termssociusandpsychethroughout this study, but here I employ them to accomplish two tasks. The first is to obviate the debate in Marxist discourse about the relationship of the base to the superstructure.¹ When Marx initiated his discussion of base and superstructure inThe German Ideology,he compounded two concerns. He sought to move away...

  9. 5 Nietzsche, Sociability, and Queer Knowing
    (pp. 174-204)

    Up to now the queer readings in this study have sought to find crucial points in what might appear as marginal discussions of sexuality and gender, which then are revealed as constitutive—a pleasure in finding the constitutive exclusions. Certainly this is a possibility with Nietzsche, although sexuality and gender play such a significant role in Nietzsche’s texts that it would require an active blindness in order for a reader to overlook them. I would rather begin by noting the distortions of Nietzsche’s positions on gender and sexuality that plague his interpreters.

    I turn first to Nietzsche’s preeminent commentator, Walter...

  10. Conclusion: Prolegomena to a Queer Social Philosophy
    (pp. 205-216)

    The survey of critical social philosophy undertaken here should not be confused with a rejection of the various formulations; rather, it should be understood as an attempt to assess the descriptive and analytic potentials of each—indeed, to continue the practice that drove each of the figures explored in the preceding chapters. None of them was content with the work of his predecessors, each figure identifying previous limits and weaknesses and establishing new formulations. For my part, in attempting to give the queer its due, I have repeatedly sought to identify those moments where queer reason disrupts the rationales of...

    (pp. 217-230)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 231-236)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-238)