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In an essay in the 1991 collection, Inside/Out, Butler takes issue with the notion of ‘lesbian’ as place from which to theorise. Noting that elsewhere she has argued that ‘identity categories tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes’ (Butler 1991: 13), Butler acknowledges the political expediency, at times, of appearing ‘under the sign of lesbian’, but qualifies that in a wish ‘to have it permanently unclear what precisely that sign signifies’ (p. 14). In Gender Trouble (1990), her critique of women as the subject of feminism seeks to move the framework of the debate away from how to ensure the full representation within that category, and toward questions of what gendered structures of power are sustained by the exclusionary mechanisms of the relationship of ...

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