Although over the last two decades there has been a proliferation of gender studies, transgender has largely remained institutionalised as an ‘umbrella term’ that encapsulates all forms of gender understandings differing from what are thought to be gender norms. In both theoretical and medical literature, trans identity has been framed within a paradigm of awkwardness or discomfort, self-dislike or dysfunctional mental health.
Marginal Bodies, Trans Utopias is a multidisciplinary book that draws primarily from Deleuze and post-structuralism in order to reformulate the concept of utopia and ground it in the materiality of the present. Through a radically new conceptualisation of the time and space of utopia, it analyses empirical findings from trans video diaries on the Internet belonging to transgender individuals. In doing so, this volume offers new insights into the everyday challenges faced by these subjectivities, with case studies focusing on: the legal/social impact of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act 2004, boundaries of public and private as evidenced within public toilets, and the narrative of the ‘wrong body’.
Contextualising and applying Deleuzian concepts such as ‘difference’ and ‘marginal’ to the context of the research, Nirta helps the reader to understand trans as ‘unity’ rather than as a ‘mind-body mismatch’. Contributing to the reading and understanding of trans lived experience, this book shall be of interest to postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers interested in fields such as Transgender Studies, Critical Studies, Sociology of Gender and Philosophy of Time.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - How Might It Be?
1.1 Why Deleuze?
1.2 Why Video Diaries?
1.3 Why This Research?
Chapter 2 - Actualised Utopias
2.1 Utopia of the ‘Not-Yet’
2.2 No Future, No Present
2.3 Temporal Immanence
2.4 Future in the Present
2.5 Sustainable Utopian Ethics
Chapter 3 – Logics of Recognition
3.1 Gender Recognition Act 2004
3.2 Shift Gender/Sex
3.3 Until Death Do Us Part
3.4 Dialectics of Recognition
3.5 Limits of Recognition
3.7 Will to Be Imperceptible
The Diary Sessions, I - On Gender Recognition
Chapter 4 – Spatial Dystopia. Or a Case Against Public Toilets
4.1 The Monolingualism of Public Toilets
4.2 The Making of Public Toilets
4.3 The Un-Making of Public Toilets
4.4 An Ethics for Public Toilets
The Diary Sessions, II – On Public Toilets
Chapter 5 – Marginal Bodies
5.1 The Monstrous Body
5.2 The othered Body
5.3 Different Bodies
5.4 Perverse Bodies
5.5 Nomadic Bodies
The Diary Sessions, III - On Wrong Bodies
Caterina Nirta is senior lecturer in social sciences at the University of Roehampton, UK
Caterina Nirta addresses one of the central political questions of the present – transsexual bodies and the various forces and intensities which compose them, their capacities to invent new modes of subjectivity and new kinds of sexual and gender practices. In asking how it is possible to understand corporeal becomings beyond identity politics and beyond gender binaries, this book proposes a provocative transgender utopianism of the present.
Elizabeth Grosz is Professor of Women's Studies and Literature at Duke University, USA
This book provides what the author describes as ‘an ethical utopianism,’ which it thinks through in relation to the actuality and actualisation of gendered and somatic life by transgender people. Drawing on Deleuze, it offers a critique of gendered being/becoming which foregrounds immanence, or the materiality of the present, over transcendence, or a future that never arrives.
Professor Alex Sharpe, School of Law, Keele University, UK
Caterina Nirta potently re-establishes the need for utopia, based on well-analysed, crystal clear theory, and proposing a perfectly actualisable possibility of a new utopia where both singularity and multiplicity are equally honoured. The whole book is an effortless and at points poetic passage through disciplines, methodologies, theories, spaces, bodies, genders, and genres. It dwells a genuinely hybrid space, simultaneously rigorous, exciting, voyeuristic and caring.
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Professor of Law & Theory, author of Spatial Justice: Body Lawscape Atmosphere
Caterina Nirta provides a provocative new perspective on lived experiences of time and the ethics of being. She radically reconceptualises notions of utopia, arguing for a recognition of transgender actualisation in the here and now through a timely analysis of how individuals might claim space within and against essentialist social and legal structures. Drawing extensively on Deleuzian philosophy and empirical insights from trans video diaries, Marginal Bodies, Trans Utopias offers an important contribution to contemporary debates around queer temporality, gender binarism, legislative recognition, public toilets and Othered bodies.
Ruth Pearce, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK