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Judith Butler's Gender Trouble elaborates what may be called a queer subjectivity. Characterized by non-essential, performative identity, her theory has been criticized because, according to its critics, it does not give the subject political agency. Liberal theorists, such as Seyla Benhabib, have been particularly concerned with the political effects of this form of subjectivity on already marginalized social groups while other theorists, such as Susan Stryker and Ed Cohen, have articulated concern that the theory does not sufficiently account for embodiment, affect, and identity. This essay brings Deleuze's theory of masochism in dialogue with Butler's theories of subjectivity in an attempt to reformulate the notion of queer subjectivity in light of these criticisms.


This article was originally published in Rhizomes, available at

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