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This page provides a brief definition of queer theory, and several links to related websites.
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Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about ‘women’ or any other group, as identities consist of so many elements that to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and non-predictable ways.
Queer theory is based, in part, on the work of Judith Butler (in particular her book Gender Trouble, 1990).
It is a mistake to think that queer theory is another name for lesbian and gay studies. They’re different. Queer theory has something to say to lesbian and gay studies — and also to a bunch of other areas of sociology and cultural theory.
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