Queer: The Creation of Power Structures within Deviancy

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Virginia Tech

Queer theory has a fundamental flaw: queer. This thesis seeks to explore the fractured usages, meanings, and scopes of the term queer to uncover the power structures that have been created within and around the term. Specifically, this thesis analyzes the ways in which academic queer theorists, the university system, and LGBTQ+ groups and activists, in an attempt to make the queer useful, perpetuate limiting definitions of the word queer that create power structures that re-marginalize some queer people. Queer, being a reclaimed slur, is sometimes used to describe members of the LGBTQ+ community. It has recently been adopted by a variety of groups to make the term politically useful. In doing so, the term has developed many, often conflicting, meanings. A term that means everything, however, has very little analytical use. Because of this, attempts to make the term queer useful to have unintended implications that re-marginalize some queer people.

Queer, LGBT, Political Science, Power Structure