Disidentification, Ideology, and Queer Performance

‘Even if we do not take things seriously… we are still doing them’.

A contribution to the collection Žižek and Performance, edited by Broderick Chow and Alex Mangold. This chapter reads Žižek’s critique of ideology alongside the notion of disidentification in the work José Esteban Muñoz to re-examine the possible terms for political intervention through queer performance practice.

Opening excerpt: ‘The queer potential for drag is its willingness to take fantasy seriously: to stage fictions of gender, sexuality and the body to which we remain firmly attached, despite seemingly determined disavowal. Yet, as Slavoj Žižek argues, the nature of ideological interpellation is such that we persist in it, whether or not we choose to take it seriously. How, then, should we understand the radical potential of queer performance if an investment in a dominant discourse is the precondition of its existence? How might Žižek’s critique of ideological relations – and of Judith Butler’s account of performative resistance – drive a new and productive understanding of complicity in queer praxis?’