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  1. Introduction.
  2. What is queer theory and how does it explain the production of knowledge about sexuality?
    1. What is queer theory.
  3. How does queer theory explain the production of knowledge about sexuality?
    1. Disrupting heteronormativity.
    2. Taking up a poststructuralist position.
    3. Transgressing the whole social order.
    4. Imposing an anarchist system.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

Applied to homosexuals, queer was initially a term of homophobic abuse, and while it retains that meaning, it is also now used as a neutrally descriptive term. (As an ethnic label, black has made the same semantic journey.) Queer is also provocative: a pejorative and stigmatizing word from the past is reclaimed by that much stigmatized grouping who have renegotiated its meaning. Because of this it has a distinct generational overtone. Younger academics love it; older ones hate it. One now sometimes finds queer used as an umbrella term for a coalition of culturally marginal sexual self-identifications, and at other times to describe a nascent theoretical model which has developed out of more traditional lesbian and gay studies (Annamarie Jagose 1996, 1). This essay will attempt to define queer theory and consider the claims of queer theorists that it helps us understand the production of knowledge about sexuality. The word queer was adopted because it was inclusive and easy to say. It overcomes the need to keep repeating lists by subsuming a variety of sexual identities under one umbrella word: ?When you are trying to describe the community, and you have to list gays, lesbians, bisexuals, drag queens transsexuals, it gets unwieldy.

[...] (1996). Queer theory: An introduction, New York: New York University Press. - Mac An Ghaill, M. (1994) The Making of Men: Masculinities, Sexualities and Schooling Men and Masculinities. Queer Masculinities Issue, vol n 3. - McLaughlin, J. (2003) Feminist Social and Political Theory, London: Palgrave. - Parker, A. (eds) (1992) Nationalisms and Sexualities, London: Routledge. - Phelan, S. (1997) Playing With Fire, London: Routledge. - Pringle, R. and Watson, S. (1992) [...]

[...] In their view there needs to be an acknowledgement of difference, in other words of transsexual queer women and men and of lesbians and gays who are denied their own place in society by the heteronormativity which divides society precisely because it attempts to make it a uniform whole (Donald E. Hall 2003, 55-6). Thus the purpose of queer studies is to produce learning opportunities for a richer understanding of human sexuality, and thus to open possibilities that define the world in more complicated ways than the flat renditions narrated by heteronormativity. [...]

[...] John Scott and Gordon Marshall offer the following definition of queer theory: it is an approach to social theory that suggests that established theory has been dominated by deep assumptions of heterosexuality and the male/female gender binary divide, and therefore proceeds to challenge such assumptions (2005, Oxford English Dictionary). It resists a model of stability promoted by heterosexuality by focusing on mismatches between sex, gender and desire, denaturalizing the sex and gender binary which heterosexuality imposes. It is a movement which has always denounced sexual definitions based on the gender of the people one sleeps with. [...]

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