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Layton, L. (1998). Experimental Desire. Rethinking Queer Subjectivity: E. Grosz. In Supposing the Subject, ed. Joan Copjec. London: Verso, 1994. Pp. 113-157. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):345.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Experimental Desire. Rethinking Queer Subjectivity: E. Grosz. In Supposing the Subject, ed. Joan Copjec. London: Verso, 1994. Pp. 113-157

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):345

Experimental Desire. Rethinking Queer Subjectivity: E. Grosz. In Supposing the Subject, ed. Joan Copjec. London: Verso, 1994. Pp. 113-157

Lynne Layton

Grosz contends, in opposition to Judith Butler, that the critical locus of transgressive inquiry is not the disjunction between a body and its gender but the instabilities of the body itself. For Grosz, “the body is what it is capable of doing, and what anybody is capable of doing is well beyond the tolerance of any given culture.” She draws on Deleuze and Guattari to explicate the differences and connections between what a body is and what it can do. Their work offers a way of conceiving the organization of sexuality differently from how it is organized in a heterosexist, phallocentric regime. Grosz turns to the Nietzschean description of active/reactive, affirming/negating forces because she thinks that contemporary psychoanalysis (by which, like most postmodernists, she means Lacan or Freud) is not capable of conceiving alternative libidinal economies or different modes of production and regulation of bodies and pleasures.

Grosz focuses on lesbianism and believes that it is good that lesbianism's sexual practices are undertheorized. This is in contrast to Marilyn Frye, who sees the lack of words available to describe lesbian sexuality as a cultural way of devaluing lesbianism. In Grosz's view, lesbianism has been the most resistant of all sexualities to being subsumed under phallocentric categories. The author concludes that while all oppressions have certain things in common, oppression on the basis of what one does, rather than what one is, is specific to homophobia. In her view, homosexual relations and lifestyles offer the possibility of a different libidinal economy.

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Article Citation

Layton, L. (1998). Experimental Desire. Rethinking Queer Subjectivity. Psychoanal. Q., 67(2):345

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