The Politics of Containment

Jonathan Dollimore

in Sexual Dissidence

Published in print August 1991 | ISBN: 9780198112259
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670732 | DOI:
The Politics of Containment

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Arguments for containment come in diverse forms. Some of these precede, or have developed adjacently to, the post/modern critique of the subject, since containment theories have always recognised that identity is an effect of the social domains which subversion and transgression would contest. Containment theory is sometimes seen as having little to do with the materialist critique, and is sometimes conveniently disavowed, often by gestural materialists, as a kind of bourgeois intellectual bad faith. However, Raymond Williams, for one, knew otherwise and gave an astute summary of the crucial issue. To that end, his account is indebted to but also departs from a European Marxist tradition of cultural critique, one which has recognised the complexity and indirect effectiveness of domination, and is acutely aware of the fact that human potentialities have not only been savagely repressed, but also abandoned and repudiated by their former adherents and those with most to gain from them.

Keywords: containment; identity; subversion; transgression; Raymond Williams; domination; politics

Chapter.  4604 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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