Ethics Of Marginality: A New Approach to Gay Studies
John Champagne (Author)
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DescriptionIs celebration of culturally marginalized people by the dominant culture actually benefitting those who are oppressed? Whose stakes are served in such a celebration and how are existing power relations altered? These are some of the questions John Champagne asks in this original and timely critique, which moves gay studies beyond identity politics and the "rights" discourse within which much of contemporary gay studies is positioned. Champagne argues that in the modern West, culturally marginalized people such as gays are not allowed to define and legitimate their own existence outside the framework established for them by the dominant group. To illustrate his premise, Champagne analyzes a number of recent films, including "Paris is Burning", "Looking for Langston" and Marlon Riggs' 1989 video "Tongues Untied" along with gay pornography, using the work of such critics of difference as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Gayatri Spivak. He calls for the marginalized individual to elaborate a practice of critical self-conduct, working to understand his or her own group as having been produced as an entity along a variety of different registers, only some of which might be said to be marginalized. "The Ethics of Marginality" situates itself at the intersection of English, cultural studies, film studies and gay and lesbian studies. It offers a powerful critique of contemporary approaches to studies of the "other" while promising to establish a ground-breaking and controversial new theoretical model for such studies.
University of Minnesota Press
3 April 1995
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