In Butlers chapter "Critically Queer" from the text Bodies That Matter(1993) is one of the few pieces by Butler that I've read and felt connected with. I have had a growing uneasiness with the current usage of the term Queer to encapsulate and define all that is sexually and politically 'radical'. In Butler's text, they question the ways that power and discourse precede notions of identity, or "I", where "there is no 'I' who stands behind discourse and executes its volition or will through discourse" (Butler, 225). It is through the citation and performance of cultural norms that one's identity becomes intelligible. Butler goes on to discuss the ways in which the term Queer has historically operated as a homophobic shaming term, which consisted of "producing a subject through that shaming interpellation" (Butler, 226). In current discourse and in efforts to recast queer agency, the term Queer has been taken up and reclaimed, and attempts to resignify sexual and gender identities which are abjected, radical political movements, and to become a "site of collective contestation" (Butler, 228). I agree with Butler's critique which describes the ways in which 'Queer' is meant to be expansive, but ends up enforcing "overlapping divisions" between who gets to use the term and with what meaning.
The reason that I felt especially connected to this piece as opposed to other Butler texts is that I feel Butler offers several positive and important suggestions for the future of the term Queer. Butler suggests that instead of understanding Queer as a fixed notion of identity, there should be an understanding and employment of the term Queer more as a verb that 'queers' stable identity categories, their formations and histories, and converging relations of power. To remain queer, the term Queer must constantly be resignified and reworked, and it is "necessary to affirm the contingency of the term" (Butler, 230).
In relation to my term PERFORMATIVITY, as I stated above, 'It is through the citation and performance of cultural norms that one's identity becomes intelligible.' Butler describes relations of power preceding identity, and it is through the citation and performance of norms that ones identity is formed. In this text Butler does not discuss the ways that identity is performed on us from outside power. Though we can understand through Foucault's "Method" (1978), that power exists everywhere, and not only do we cite certain norms and thus perform our identity, outside forces cite certain norms to read and make our identity intelligible, and perform identity upon us.