Post-identity politics and the social weightlessness of radical gender theory

Paddy McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines recent forms of post-identity thought within contemporary gender theory, specifically the works of Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz and Bobby Noble. Despite the many insights that these theories offer, I argue that they suffer from what Lois McNay has labelled ‘social weightlessness’ insofar as their models of subjectivity and agency are disconnected from the everyday realities of social subjects. I identify two ways in which this social weightlessness is manifested in radical gender theories that endorse a post-identity politics: (i) they overlook the social and political importance to many individuals of establishing stable, coherent identities; (ii) they are unable to offer a satisfactory account of agency. I suggest that these issues arise, at least in part, from the anti-recognition stance adopted by such radical gender theorists. I argue that by incorporating a properly nuanced model of recognition back into their theories they can imbue their accounts with a properly grounded model of the subject that is responsive to the inequalities and oppressions that infuse the particular concrete contexts in which we experience and live out our identities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
JournalThesis Eleven
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2016


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