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The Reification of Desire

Toward a Queer Marxism

2009
Author:

Kevin Floyd

The Reification of Desire

A new theoretical approach to the relationship between Marxism and queer studies

The Reification of Desire takes two critical perspectives rarely analyzed together—formative arguments for Marxism and those that have been the basis for queer theory—and productively scrutinizes these ideas both with and against each other to put forth a new theoretical connection between Marxism and queer studies.

The Reification of Desire makes surprising and important connections between Marxism and queer theory, and Kevin Floyd’s analyses are to be commended for their ability to move skillfully from abstract theory to the most detailed histories of socio-economic dynamics and masculine culture.

Eric Clarke, University of Pittsburgh

The Reification of Desire takes two critical perspectives rarely analyzed together—formative arguments for Marxism and those that have been the basis for queer theory—and productively scrutinizes these ideas both with and against each other to put forth a new theoretical connection between Marxism and queer studies.

Kevin Floyd brings queer critique to bear on the Marxian categories of reification and totality and considers the dialectic that frames the work of Georg Lukács, Herbert Marcuse, and Fredric Jameson. Reading the work of these theorists together with influential queer work by such figures as Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, and alongside reconsiderations of such texts as The Sun Also Rises and Midnight Cowboy, Floyd reformulates these two central categories that have been inseparable from a key strand of Marxist thought and have marked both its explanatory power and its limitations. Floyd theorizes a dissociation of sexuality from gender at the beginning of the twentieth century in terms of reification to claim that this dissociation is one aspect of a larger dynamic of social reification enforced by capitalism.

Developing a queer examination of reification and totality, Floyd ultimately argues that the insights of queer theory require a fundamental rethinking of both.

The Reification of Desire

Kevin Floyd is associate professor of English at Kent State University.

The Reification of Desire

The Reification of Desire makes surprising and important connections between Marxism and queer theory, and Kevin Floyd’s analyses are to be commended for their ability to move skillfully from abstract theory to the most detailed histories of socio-economic dynamics and masculine culture.

Eric Clarke, University of Pittsburgh

A rich, rigorous, and useful book.

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

Floyd’s analysis is both provocative and rich, and his original narratives offer some startling new perspectives.

Culture Machine

The tome’s clearly ambitious theoretical focus does not hinder its attempt to remain at the level of ‘real-world’ phenomena.

Science & Society

Insightful and thought-provoking.

Mediations

Floyd’s application of the concept of reification to sexuality is brilliant. Trailblazing work.

Against the Current

Ambitious and careful. Floyd has energized the concept of reification.

Criticism

In addition to having theoretical sophistication and range, Floyd’s writing is also witty. Do not miss.

H-Net

The Reification of Desire should be a required book in any library collection that supports research in the fields of queer theory, gender studies, cultural studies, and Marxist-based literary theory. Floyd’s clear style and efficient prose make the book ideal for advanced undergraduate courses and graduate seminars that examine the relationship between sexuality and culture, especially in an American context. As his first published monograph, The Reification of Desire establishes Kevin Floyd as an innovative voice in philosophical and cultural debates on sexuality and desire.

Gender Forum