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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:'Making men fall': queer power beyond anti-normativity
Author:Hendriks, Thomas
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S000197202100022X
Abstract:In modern social thinking, norms are generally thought of in opposition to a space of freedom that is more or less curtailed by and through processes of normalization. 'Transgression' thereby becomes an implicit or explicit act of resistance against the norm. This is particularly clear in Western Queer Theory, where a political and analytical investment in anti-normativity has paradoxically become a field-defining norm. Yet such strong anti-normativity can become a liability when trying to do justice to actually existing queer dynamics in past and present African realities. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork among sexually dissident young men who call themselves 'fioto' in urban Democratic Republic of Congo, this article shifts the always already oppositional relationship between queerness and normativity not by arguing that queer is normal too or by showing that queer lives produce their own norms alongside heteronormativity, but by suggesting that queerness is a potential of normativity, rather than an opposition to it. It specifically thinks with two groups of fioto friends in Kisangani to show how and why norms generated their own queerness as something that was already there as an inherent dimension of their own dynamism and multiplicity.