Marginal bodies: actualising trans Utopias

Nirta Caterina 2014. Marginal bodies: actualising trans Utopias. PhD thesis University of Westminster Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

TitleMarginal bodies: actualising trans Utopias
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsNirta Caterina

This PhD focuses on transgender subjectivity and explores the ways in which trans is negotiated and compromised by and within social space, with particular attention to the dynamics and socio-cultural norms through which the transgendered body that identifies beyond the gender binary is mediated.

The existence of trans subjectivity develops in opposition to institutionalised heteronormativity; its problematic social location and identification make it a
phenomenon which strongly relies on movement and spatiality. Part of what makes trans so compelling is not so much its breach of the ‘natural body’, but it is the unique form of self-description it carries within itself which retains the potential of opening up a new narrative and alternative possibility for the very notion of gender and for all LGBT advocacy and its relations to space.

My theoretical framework is influenced by the work of Gilles Deleuze. I look at trans as a mode of unified affirmation and not as a product of negotiation
(medical and/or legal). Difference for Deleuze is not an empirical condition but an ontological constitutional principle. Through this, I elaborate a conceptual framework of understanding wherein transgender subjectivity is articulated in terms of utopianism. The utopianism I refer to is not wishful hope, rather, it is the material embodiment here and now of that mode of futurity transgender subjectivity evokes. Futurity contains within itself the seed for producing the re-energisation of thought and ‘ethical space’ does not only entail the inclusion of what is real and tangible but must also account for what is possible, because what is possible is real.


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