Our group diablog discussed the reading from Jose Esteban Munoz's article, Disidentifications. Although we did struggle on trying to grasp the understanding of Munoz's focus of the article, as well as the terms that were used in it, posting questions and comments on the blog was very beneficial to our group. Knowing that we all had our own questions and struggles with the reading, only proved to be more helpful for us to pose good group questions for class discussion. One main element of the class discussion was focused on the definition of disidentification and how it was used in the article. This brought up very different viewpoints of what disidentification could be and eventually we discovered that it tied into the disruption of what is considered "normal" or "heteronormative" and thus allowed a space for rejection and or resistance of the dominant public sphere. We had a chance to discuss about the difference between stereotypes and identity which was not mainly focused on disidentifying one's self from the dominant culture but to be able to distinguish the significance of these roles. It is necessary to have this counterculture, which can be a positive aspect of working with the identities-in-difference. Another focus of our discussion was on interpellation and how failure is a part of this counterculture. Not all failures are viewed as negative but can be a way of creating a study of different discourses. The overall class discussion on Munoz's article proved to be quite difficult to expand upon due to the lack of a strong connection and understanding of what the reading was trying to convey. There were many important aspects of the article that it was a challenge to try to discuss it as a whole. Although our group had some confusion with the article, we felt that the discussion with the class was very helpful.
Recently in 5. Munoz Category
In regards to our in class discussion, I would like to address the idea of failure. I think what Munoz was getting at and what I stressed in class is that failure is in the eye of the beholder. If you are failing to conform to heteronormative society then you are not necessarily failing in a negative way. What I am taking away from this reading is that if you fail to conform and disidentify with stereotypes and the majority in general you form an identity that is all your own. Identities are defined and created through comparisons and relations. Without a heteronormative society to rebel against and resist queer counterculture would altogether not exist because there would be nothing "queer" about disidentifying. However disidentifying is not only applicable to homosexual populations. The act itself is done by straight people too in regards to disidentifying with stereotypes. What are everyone's thoughts on disidentifying in a straight population? How is disidentifying different when being done in various populations?
Here's the video I meant to post in my comment on the Muñoz open thread.
It's Antony & the Johnsons, playing live. I figured it fit with the video theme of Tuesday. How do the lyrics connect to our discussion of utopia, the future, the child, optimism? How can we queer this (even more than it already is)?
Hey All! Just curious as to everyone else's perspectives on Munoz's arguments on identity,its formation, memory and performativity. This goes out to not only Diablog group 5 but to the entire class. I had a nifty (or not so nifty) chart thing that outlined what I got out of it. Does anyone agree, disagree?
Hey All! Sorry I am late I ended up closing the store last night and didnt have a chance to post. For my thoughts to the Munoz readings I decided to do a couple of bullet points on questions, thoughts and notes that I had on the reading instead of a summary. I also took a couple of photos of my initial reaction to Munoz's thoughts on identity and disidentification. Munoz Notes.doc
"public performance of memory"-Everyday lives and experiences are what break the stereotype, even if that means reconstituting it.
This article starts by discussing the author's encounter with Marga Gomez's performance in 1992, "Marga Gomez is Pretty, Witty, and Gay". Munoz says, "Her performance permits the spectator, often a queer... to imagine a world where queer lives, politics, and possibilities are representable in their complexity." The author states how Marga's solo performance changed thought about disidentification theoretical concepts and figurations.
In this article: "disidentification is meant to be descriptive of the survival strategies the minority subject practices in order to negotiate a phobic majoritarian public sphere that continuously elides or punishes the existence of the subjects who do not conform to the phantasm of normative citizenship."
Munoz's article discusses finding one's identity, or where they find themselves fitting within the norm. There are identities that we create that are socially structured; many people find themselves living by rules or in roles that affect their representation. Everyone can't fit within the norm, but can they survive if they differentiate themselves far away from the norm? It's also important to note that depending ones race, gender, and sexual preference, they may have a different perspective.
The article has to do with desire, identity, and how people perceive ideas/theory.
The article introduces a performance called, Marga Gomez Is Pretty, Witty, and Gay, which connects to the author's focus on performing disidentifications. The meaning of disidentification in this article is a practice and or strategy in which a minority subject uses in order to negotiate a way to survive within or outside a dominant public sphere. Munoz used the performance as an example to indicate memory as a powerful disidentification because it was due to the lesbian stereotyping in the public sphere which interpellated her as a lesbian. Interpellation in this article was used in reference to Althusser's theory of ideology as an unavoidable realm for the subjects to be "hailed". Memory in this article is used as a way to create one's self through identification of certain aspects of characteristics that one recognizes. Throughout the article, there are numerous examples of cultural performers that create a space for one to negotiate between a fixed identity and the identity that is socially constructed through encoded roles. These encoded roles are then specified down to race, sexuality, gender, and labor which becomes a "point of collision of perspectives". This means that there is a point where all these roles influence the construction of hybrid representations. These representations thus leads into the "identities-in-difference" which are defined as the subjects that failed to interpellate within the dominant public sphere. In this article, the "identities-in-difference" are referred to people of color, queers, or just those that do not fit into the heteronormative society. Munoz's argument in this paper seems to be that the subject is not only influenced by the others but can exert change onto the other thus, by doing so creates a change within themselves. That one of the ways to create one's self, one has to properly identify these distinctions and not just only reject certain characteristics that does not align with their needs but it is a creation of multiple aspects of an identity. The performance of disidentification in this article is related to the desire, identification, and ideology of what the individual perceives.
Diablog Week 5:
He starts off with a recount of a play called Malga Gomez is pretty, witty, and gay. It is how he describes "a meditation on the contemporary reality of being queer in North America. Being public as yourself when you are the minority assists in capturing social agency. Social agency here means forcing recognition as queer thus assuming identity as something different to be acknowledged but not necessarily accepted in society. The character in the play Gomez disidentifies herself with the mainstream lesbian as she discusses her first interaction with lesbians in public as an eleven year old. She does not want to be associated with "truck-driving closeted diesel dykes". She wants to be glamorous and not a pathetic spectacle. Malga Gomez is able to hear the "lesbian call" featured on the David Susskin Show without her mother's knowledge since she is in denial or maybe just does not notice. Disidentification is said here to mean not identifying yourself or claiming alliance to heteronormative definition or stereotypical lesbian or gay. It means recognizing the stereotypes and taking bits and pieces of that to be your own individual within the minority. Malga saw these lesbians on television with their wigs, wigs being something not stereotypically lesbian, and that made her want to be one.
While watching this portrayal done by Malga of her moment of disidentification, Munoz recalled his viewing of Truman Capote on the same television show as a kid. He understood a bitchy comment Capote made which he thought only "gays could hear". This childhood moment of disidentification was only resurrected and realized while watching Malga's performance of self. This to Munoz demonstrated the power and shame of queerness. He had buried that memory and had yet to recognize its significance. It did even exist until he saw Malga Gomez is pretty, witty and gay.
Disidentification is not always a good strategy of resistance or survival for all minority subjects. Sometimes direct resistance can be useful but for queers of color Munoz thinks that they must follow conformist paths to survive in this world.
People in minorities need to interface with different sub cultural fields to activate their own sense of self. This is also true for straight white people I believe. Munoz mentions that straight people do this as well but perhaps not to the extent that gays do. The disidentification performances discussed strive to envision and trigger new social relations. This means that by creating a spin-off identity of what is seen in visions of gay or lesbian, you can create your own existence. Identity is defined in this article as a struggle between what is known and how to relate to that disposition. Clearly, each stereotype or norm will not fit every individual. Understanding of self and socially constructed narratives of self should not be reduced to "lowest common denominator terms," as Munoz puts it. This means that there will not always be a perfect mold which to form yourself to that is known.
How do you view identity as straight person? What does your identity mean to you? How may this differ for someone of a minority? Have you ever disidentified with someone of your minority be it white, straight, gay, lesbian, etc?