Muñoz 1999

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Muñoz, José Estaban. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Munoz, Disidentifications

Marga Gomez performance -- "permits the spectator, often a queen who has been locked out of the halls of representation or rendered a static caricature there, to imagine a world where queer lives, politics, and possibilities are representable in their complexity. The importance of such public and semipublic enactments of the hybrid self cannot be undervalued in relation to the formation of counterpublics that context the hegemonic supremacy of the majoritarian pubic sphere. Spectacles such as those that Gomez presents offer the minoritarian subject a space to situate itself in history and thus seize social agency."

Performing "disidentifications desire for this once toxic representation"

"essentialized understanding of identity ... by its very nature must reduce identities to lowest-common denominator terms. There is an essential blackness, for example, in various straight black nationalist thinking, and it is decidedly heterosexual." (6)

Understanding the work of "making identity as a process that takes place at the point of collision of perspectives that some critics and theorists have understood as essentialist and constructivist."

"Identities-in-difference" -- -- "reconstructed narrative of identity formation that locates the enacting of self at precisely the point where the discourses of essentialism and constructivism short-circuit" (6) -- "emerge from a failed interpellation within the dominant public sphere. Their emergence is predicated on their ability to Disidentifications with the mass public and instead, through this Disidentifications, contribute to the function of a counterpublic sphere." (7)

Sedgwick: identification is never a simple project; "identifying with an object, person, lifestyle, history, political ideology, religious orientation, and so on, means also simultaneously and partially counteridentifying, as well as only partially identifying, with different aspects of the social and psychic world." (8)

"Subjects who are outside the purview of dominant public spheres encounter obstacles in enacting identifications."

Intersectional approach (Kimberle William Crenshaw)

Example of queer person of color reading Fanon and finding homophobic footnote; do we just dismiss all of Fanon then? Disidentifications allows her to interrogate his homophobia and misogyny while still engaging his anti colonial discourse "as a still valuable yet mediated identification" -- "This maneuver resists an unproductive turn toward good dog/bad dog criticism and instead leads to an indentification that is both mediated and immediate, a Disidentification that enables politics." (9)

Pecheux: three modes "in which a subject is constructed by ideological practices: "Good Subject," taking path of identification with ideological/discursive forms; "Bad Subject," resist dominant ideology and rebel, counteridentifying in ways that turn against the symbolic system; "Disidentification": a mode "that neither opts to assimilate within such a structure nor strictly opposes it; rather disentification is a strategy that works on and against dominant ideology" (11)

Judith Butler -- slippage and failure when a subject is hailed by a sign that is not her

"As a practice, disidentification does not dispel those ideological contradictory elements; rather, like a melancholic subject holding on to a lost object, a disidentifying subject works to hold on to this object and invest it with new life." (12)

"To disidentify is to read oneself and one's own life narrative in a moment, object, or subject that is not culturally coded to 'connect' with the disidentifying subject. It is not to pick and choose what one takes out of an identification. It is not to willfully evacuate the politically dubious or shameful components within an identical ory locus. Rather, it si the reworking of those energies that do not elide the 'harmful' or contradictory componenets of any identiy. It is an acceptance of the necessary interjection that has occurred in such situations." (12)

Freud: subjects form proper attachments to objects; to not do so is to form a pathology

Diana Fuss -- reworks this theory of identification "based on a vampiric understanding of subjectivity formation" (13)

Counteridentification can be disadvantageous, because plays into dominant ideology's script, which "depends on minority factionalism and isolationism to maintain the status of the dominant order" (14)


Desiring with a difference -- "In a somewhat analogous fashion, queer desires, perhaps desires that negate self, desire for a white beauty ideal, are reconstituted by an ideological component that tells us that such modalities of desire and desiring are too self-compromising. We thus disidentify with the white ideal. We desire it but desire it with a difference. The negotiations between desire, identification, and ideology are part of the important work of disidentification." (15)

James Baldwin identifying with Bette Davis

identification as assimilation, and counteridentification as anti-assimilation -- is disidentification between these just "apolitical sidestepping"? (18)

No -- indebted to antiassimilationist thought

Foucault (19)

Fiction as a "technology of the self" -- Baldwin and the singer

Importance of This Bridge Called My Back (and its being ignored by mainstream queer/feminist white writing)

Osa Hidalgo, Marginal Eyes or Mujeria Fantasy 1

"Disidentifications performances and readings require an active kernal of utopian possibility. Although utopianism has become the bad object of much contemporary political thinking, we nonetheless need to hold on to and even risk utopianism if we are to engage in the labor of making a queerworld." (25)

Stuart Hall, encoding/decoding: encoded discourses are broadcast, then subject decodes them; can decode from a dominant-hegemonic position (decodes it straight), from a negotiated position (acknowledging constructed nature of discourse but not challenging its authorization), or from oppositional mode that "resists, demystifies, and deconstructs the universalizing ruse of the dominant culture. Meanings are unpacked in an effort to dismantle dominant codes" -- oppositional is same as disidentification (26)

"Revisionary" identification

Gaze and viewership -- Mulvey and revisions to Mulvey

Michele Wallace, Toni Morrison

"The disidentifications optic is turned to shadows and fissures within the text, where racialized presences can be liberated from the protective custody of the white literary imagination" (29)

Sedgwick and Butler's response

"Disidentification, as a mode of understanding the movements and circulations of identification force, would always foreground that lost object of identification; it would establish new possibilities while at the same time echoing the materially prescriptive cultural locus of any identification." (30)

"Disidentification is about recycling and rethinking encoded meaning. The process of disidentification scrambles and reconstructs the encoded message of a cultural text in a fashion that both exposes the encoded message's universalizing and exclusionary machinations and recircuits its working to account for, include, and empower minority identities and identifications. Thus, disidentification is a step further than cracking open the code of the majority; it proceeds to use this code as raw material for representing a disempowered politics or positionality that has been rendered unthinkable by the dominant culture." (31)

Hybridity, migrants, traveling back and forth across identity formations

"Push against reified understanding of theory"

"Counterpublic perfromances let us imagine models of social relations. Such performance practices do not shy away from the theoretical practice of cultural critique." (33)