Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
There is undoubtedly a certain irony in trying to bring together under a single encyclopedia entry a range of theorists whose sole commonality may well be that they define themselves against the tendency of philosophy to think in terms of sameness, to categorize, or to demand that people live as readily identifiable subjects. At the same time, it is reasonable to gather under this general rubric a constellation of arguments, from the structuralism of 1960s France to present-day queer theory and postcolonial theory in the United States. In addition to forming a certain intellectual lineage (which partly accounts for the family resemblance), these theories share two things: a philosophical concern with the role of difference in social relations and a more political commitment to affirming difference(s) where others privilege sameness or identity. For present purposes, the story of difference theories can be said to begin with the Swiss linguist Ferdinand ...