N. 2 (2016): Humosexually Speaking. Laughter and the Intersections of Gender

Of Carnivalesque, Homosexuality, In-between Spaces and Border Crossing

Nicoletta Vallorani

Pubblicato 2016-11-15

Come citare

Vallorani, N. (2016). Of Carnivalesque, Homosexuality, In-between Spaces and Border Crossing. De Genere - Rivista Di Studi Letterari, Postcoloniali E Di Genere, (2). Recuperato da https://www.degenere-journal.it/index.php/degenere/article/view/40


In Bakhtin’s epistemology (Bakhtin 1968), carnival is posited as the symbolic place where the authoritative discourse may be subverted in order to produce a different kind of knowledge, thus triggering a counterhegemonic discourse where – as Butler maintains (Butler 2004) – parody, mimicry, repetition and performances result in the staging of identity as masquerade. In both LGTB and postcolonial cultures, the tools of the carnivalesque, more or less in the same period, has been alternatively used for identity construction and for critical deconstruction. Two different, tough often overlapping, forms of otherness have started walking the bridge of between the margins and a gradually less and less defined centre. For both, the main issue of their representational practices used to be found in their resistance to what Foucault called "regulatory ideal" disciplining the relation between the accepted social norm and the anomaly (Foucault 1998). My contention is that the same tools exploited to resist and react the pressures towards the normalization – tools in themselves very functional to the process of coming out in the homosexual community and that of integration for the postcolonial Other – are now being transformed into a strategy to keep both the sexual and the colonial Other on the bridge, in the ghetto of a carnival that, being marked as an exception to the social rule, fails to be dangerous. Drawing on some very recent versions of Bakhtin’s carnivalesque in literature, films and visual and performative arts, I will try to show how the disruptive power of the grotesque/carnivalesque body, with reference to both the postcolonial and the LGTB otherness, has gradually gone lost, to be replaced by the reassuring feeling that these kinds of difference do not belong with the real world and therefore they do not imply the actual revision of social and political practices.

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