Taking Stock of the Stochastic

“Introduction: Antinormativity’s Queer Conventions”
Robyn Wiegman and Elizabeth A. Wilson
differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies
Vol. 26, No. 1

Norms generate not sovereignties, but overdetermined relationalities.

[N]ormativity is a structure of proliferations: some of these normative
proliferations duplicate already existing terms, some twist those terms or minimize or amplify or warp them. None of them definitively breaks with the systematicity that they are; nor are they events that are predetermined and therefore knowable in advance. To think statistically again: norms are stochastic. Norms generate not sovereignties, but overdetermined relationalities. So, to stand against one part of a normative system would be to stand, comically, against oneself.


It is this rich field of dependencies, differentiations, clashes, and engenderings that queer antinormative arguments misunderstand. And this misunderstanding has distinct consequences: it asphyxiates the relationality that is at the heart of normativity. Antinormativity is antinormative, then, in a way that it presumable does not intend: it urns systemic play (differentiations, comparisons, valuations, attenuations, skirmishes) into unforgiving rules and regulations and so converts the complexity of moving athwart into the much more anodyne notion of moving against.

Athwart: such a nicely perverted, twisted and infrequent word.

And so for day 2573

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