Queer(y)ing ‘agency’ using a Butlerian framework of thinking: What might alteration ‘look like’ through this prism of thought?

Year: 2016

Author: Gowlett, Christina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Capacity for alteration has traditionally been viewed within a framework of thinking that considers the individual as autonomous and self-directed. Within this long standing prism of thought, ‘choices’ have been regarded as deliberate. ‘Agency’ has been the term consequently associated with the instigation of change, and this conceptualization has incited particular ways of looking at data, and thinking about change, particularly how it can arise. The poststructuralist turn provided an opportunity for ‘agency’ to be thought of differently, yet this moment, despite new thinkings about desire, seems plagued by determinism. In this presentation, I draw upon Butler’s concept of performative resignification to think through what ‘alteration’ might look like, and try to carve out a third space for the term ‘agency’.