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Practising gender, queering theory

  • Lauren Wilcox (a1)

The development of a ‘practice turn’ in International Relations promises to reconstitute IR theory around the study of embodied practices. Despite occasional references to Judith Butler’s work, the contributions of feminist and queer theory are under recognised in existing work. In this piece I note the distinctive approach to gender as a practice represented by Butler and other feminist/queer theorists for its emphasis on intelligibility and failure, particularly the importance on ‘competently’ practising gender in order to established as an intelligible subject. Given the centrality of ‘competency’ in ‘practice turn’ literature, theorising practice from the perspective of ‘gender failures’ sheds light on the embedded exclusions within this literature. To demonstrate the stakes of this critique, I discuss airport security practices, a growing area of interest to IR scholars, in terms of the experiences of trans- and gender non-conforming people. I argue that such practices ultimately complicate success/failure binaries. I conclude by considering the political stakes of practising theory in IR and how competency in theory is similarly marked by the exclusion of feminist/queer work.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Lauren Wilcox, University of Cambridge – University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, Department of Politics and International Studies, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 9DP. Author’s email:
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1 Crisp, Quentin, The Naked Civil Servant (New York: Plume, 1968), p. 196 . Also quoted by Halberstam, Judith, The Queer Art of Failure (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), p. 96 .

2 See, inter alia, Neumann, Iver B., ‘Returning practice to the linguistic turn: the case of diplomacy’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 31:3 (2002), pp. 627651 ; Hansen, Lene, Security as Practice: Discourse Analysis and the Bosnian War (New York: Routledge, 2006); Pouliot, Vincent, ‘The logic of practicality: a theory of practice of security communities’, International Organization, 62:2 (2008), pp. 257288 ; Hopf, Ted, ‘The logic of habit in International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, 16:4 (2010), pp. 539561 ; Pouliot, Vincent, International Security in Practice: The Politics of NATO-Russia Diplomacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Bigo, Didier, ‘Pierre Bourdieu and International Relations: Power of practices, practices of power’, International Political Sociology, 5 (2011), pp. 225258 ; Adler, Emanuel and Pouliot, Vincent, ‘International practices’, International Theory, 3:1 (2011), pp. 136 ; Adler, Emanuel and Pouliot, Vincent (eds), International Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Leander, Anna, ‘The promises, problems, and potentials of a Bourdieu-inspired staging of international relations’, International Political Sociology, 5 (2011), pp. 294–131; Felice, Damiano De and Obino, Francesco, ‘“Editors” Introduction: Weaving the theories and practices of International Relations’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:3 (2012), pp. 431437 ; Hamati-Ataya, Inanna, ‘IR theory as international practice/agency: a clinical-cynical Bourdieusian perspective’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:3 (2012), pp. 625646 ; Karp, David J., ‘The location of international practices: What is human rights practice’, Review of International Studies, 39:4 (2013), pp. 969992 ; Ringmar, Erik, ‘The search for dialogue as a hindrance to understanding: Practices as inter-paradigmatic research program’, International Theory, 6:1 (2014), pp. 127 ; Bueger, Christian, ‘Pathways to practice: Praxiography and international politics’, European Political Science Review, 6:3 (2014), pp. 383406 ; Bueger, Christian and Gadinger, Frank, ‘The play of international practice’, International Studies Quarterly, 59:3 (2015), pp. 449460 ; Schindler, Sebastian and Wille, Tobias, ‘Change in and through practice: Pierre Bourdieu, Vincent Pouliot, and the end of the Cold War’, International Theory, 7:3 (2015), pp. 330359 ; Kustermans, Jorg, ‘Parsing the practice turn: Practice, practical knowledge, practices’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 44:2 (2016), pp. 175196 ; Pouliot, Vincent, International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016); McCourt, David M., ‘Practice theory and relationalism as the new constructivism’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:3 (2016), pp. 475485 ; Abraham, Kavi Joseph and Abramson, Yehonatan, ‘A pragmatist vocation for International Relations: the (global) public and its problems’, European Journal of International Relations, 23:1 (2017), pp. 2648 .

3 Jabri, Vivienne, ‘Gender’, in Rebecca Adler-Nissen (ed.), Bourdieu in International Relations: Rethinking Key Concepts in IR (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 148164 , citing Tickner, J. Ann, ‘Feminism meets IR: Some methodological issues’, in Brooke Ackerly, Maria Stern, and Jacqui True (eds), Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 1941 ; Enloe, Cynthia, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989); and Enloe, Cynthia, Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001).

4 Žarkov, Dubravka, The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Break-Up of Yugoslavia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); Khalili, Laleh, ‘The gendered practices of counterinsurgency’, Review of International Studies, 37:4 (2011), pp. 14711491 ; Sylvester, Christine, ‘War experiences/war practices/war theory’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:3 (2012), pp. 483503 ; Daigle, Megan, From Cuba With Love: Sex and Money in the Twenty-first Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015); Wilcox, Lauren, Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

5 Ringmar, ‘The search for dialogue’

6 See Sylvester, Christine, ‘Anatomy of a footnote’, Security Dialogue, 38:4 (2007), pp. 547558 ; Kadera, Kelly M., ‘The social underpinnings of women’s worth in the study of world politics: Culture, leader emergence, and coauthorship’, International Studies Perspectives, 14:4 (2013), pp. 463475 ; Maliniak, Daniel, Powers, Ryan, and Barbara F.Walter, , ‘The gender citation gap in International Relations’, International Organization, 67:4 (2013), pp. 889922 ; Smith, Nicola J. and Lee, Donna, ‘What’s queer about political science’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 17:1 (2014), pp. 4963 .

7 Smith and Lee, ‘What’s queer’.

8 Such as in Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’; Adler and Pouliot ‘International practices’; Adler and Pouliot, International Practices; Leander, ‘The promises, perils and potentials’; and Bigo, ‘Pierre Bourdieu and International Relations’. Exceptions that contain somewhat longer discussions of Butler’s work include Doty, Roxanne, ‘Aporia: a critical exploration of the agent-structure problematique in International Relations theory’, European Journal of International Relations, 3:3 (1997), pp. 365392 (a piece that has been retrospectively interpolated into the canon of ‘the practice turn’); Raymond Duvall and Arjun Chowdhury, ‘Practices of theory’, in Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, pp. 335–54, and discussed as an important caveat to practice in Hopf, ‘The logic of habit’.

9 Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, p. 1.

10 Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’, p. 2.

11 For overviews of Judith Butler’s contribution to political theory and International Relations, see Weber, Cynthia, ‘Performative states’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 27:1 (1998), pp. 7795 ; Hansen, Lene, ‘The Little Mermaid’s silent security dilemma and the absence of gender in the Copenhagen School’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 29:2 (2000), pp. 285306 ; Lloyd, Moya, Judith Butler: From Norms to Politics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007); Chambers, Samuel and Carver, Terrell, Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics (New York and London: Routledge, 2008); Smith and Lee, ‘What’s queer’; and Wilcox, Bodies of Violence.

12 cf. Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’, p. 6.

13 Butler, Judith, ‘Gendering the body: Beauvoir’s philosophical contribution’, in Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall (eds), Women, Knowledge, Reality (Winchester, MA: Unwin Hyman, Inc, 1989), pp. 253262 .

14 Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1999 [orig. pub. 1990]); Butler, Judith, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’ (New York: Routledge, 1993).

15 Butler, Judith, Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2004) and Butler, Judith, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (London: Verso, 2009).

16 Butler, Judith, Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015).

17 For critiques of adding ‘gender’ or ‘sexuality’ variables in IR, see Cynthia Weber, ‘What’s So Queer About IR? Or Beware the Sexuality Variable’, Millennium Conference: ‘Gender and International Studies: Looking Forward’ LSE, 13–14 September 1998 and Weber, Cynthia, ‘Queer intellectual curiosity as International Relations method: Developing queer International Relations theoretical and methodological frameworks’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:1 (2016), pp. 1123 ; Carver, Terrell, Cochran, Molly, and Squires, Judith, ‘Gendering Jones: Feminisms, IRs, masculinities’, Review of International Studies, 24:2 (1998), pp. 283297 ; Hooper, Charlotte, ‘Masculinities, IR and the “gender variable”: a cost-benefit analysis for (sympathetic) gender skeptics’, Review of International Studies, 25 (1999), pp. 475491 .

18 Butler, Precarious Life, p. 33.

19 Following Stryker, Susan, Currah, Paisley, and Moore, Lisa Jean, ‘Introduction: Trans-, trans, or transgender?’, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 36:3–4 (2008), pp. 1122 and Shepherd, Laura J. and Sjoberg, Laura, ‘Trans- bodies in/of war(s): Cisprivilege and contemporary security strategy’, Feminist Review, 101:1 (2012), pp. 523 ; I use ‘trans-’ rather than ‘transsexual’ or ‘transgender’ because it leaves open the question of what suffix follows and suggests an adjective rather than a noun in order to prevent the stabilisation of some people as concrete beings and others as ‘crossers’.

20 Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, p. 6.

21 Ibid., p. 7.

22 Neumann, ‘Returning practice’, pp. 630–1, citing Barnes, Barry, ‘Practice as collective action’, in Theodore R. Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny (eds), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), pp. 2526 .

23 Stein, Janice Gross, ‘Background knowledge in the foreground: Conversations about competent practice in “sacred space”’, in Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot (eds), International Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 87107 . Erik Ringmar (‘The search for dialogue’) has also recently critiqued Adler and Pouliot for insisting upon the competency of practices as a way of distinguishing between practices and performances. The distinction Ringmar makes between performances as intentional acts designed to be judged by an audience and practices that constitute everything that we do regardless of audience is useful for pointing out the inconsistencies in the way various scholars have interpreted what ‘practices’ are, but the intentional/unintentional distinction is resisted by Butler, whose notion of performativity disavows the idea that gender is an intentional practice by a wilful agent.

24 Charlotte Epstein fluently discusses this constitutive lack in the process of becoming a subject in terms of the structure of the subject in her piece ‘Who speaks? Discourse, the subject and the study of identity in international politics’, European Journal of International Relations, 17:2 (2011), pp. 327–50.

25 Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 188.

26 Butler, Judith, Excitable Speech: The Politics of the Performative (New York and London: Routledge, 1997).

27 See also Lloyd, Judith Butler, pp. 74–5.

28 Duvall and Chowdhury, ‘Practice of theory’, p. 340.

29 Adler-Nissen, Rebecca, Opting Out of the European Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

30 Halberstam, Queer Art; Edelman, Lee, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

31 Ibid., p. 2.

32 Weber, Cynthia, ‘Why is there no queer international theory?’, European Journal of International Relations, 21:1 (2015), p. 37 ; see also Halberstam, Queer Art, pp. 11–12.

33 Love, Heather, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

34 Butler, Judith, The Psychic Life of Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

35 Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 191.

36 Disch, Lisa, ‘Judith Butler and the politics of the performative’, Political Theory, 27:4 (1999), p. 547 .

37 Scott, James C., Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

38 See also Scott, James C., Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).

39 Friedrich Kratochwil, ‘Making sense of “international practices”’, in Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, p. 40.

40 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 33. Butler is not the only social and/or feminist theorist to make this point about gender as a practice. See also West, Candice and Zimmerman, Don H., ‘Doing gender’, Gender and Society, 1:2 (1987), pp. 125151 ; Connell, R. W., Masculinities (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), p. 65, for example.

41 Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, p. 8, emphasis in original.

42 Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’, p. 5.

43 Two leading proponents of practice theory in IR reference Butler’s work in this manner, which is consistent with Bourdieu’s somewhat misleading reading of Butler’s work, particularly from Masculine Domination: Leander, ‘The promises, perils and potentials’, and Bigo, ‘Pierre Bourdieu and International Relations’. In Bourdieu’s view, genders are inscribed on bodies against a gendered social structure and are not ‘simple roles that can be played at will (in the manner of drag queens)’ and because genders ‘do not spring from a simple effect of verbal naming’ they ‘cannot be abolished by an act of performative magic’. Bourdieu, Pierre, Masculine Domination, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford: Stanford University Press 2002 [orig. pub. 1998]), p. 103 .

44 Butler, Performative Theory, p. 63.

45 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 33.

46 Butler, Judith, Undoing Gender (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), p. 1 .

47 Ibid., p. 11.

48 Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 231.

49 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 17.

50 Ibid. Queer theorists have also critiqued binaries of homosexual/heterosexual or gender non-conforming/gender normative as being insufficiently attuned to the multiple and complex sites of inclusion and exclusion. ‘Homonormative’ theories critique the tendency of activism on behalf of gender and sexual minorities to focus on issues such as marriage equality and the right to serve in militaries as striving to assimilate to the norms of broader heterosexist society, which primarily benefits white, middle- to upper-class men, to the detriment of women, people of colour, and trans- people, and also seek to align progressive policies in relation to gay, lesbian, bi, and trans- communities with greater ‘civilizational’ status in relation especially to African and Middle Eastern peoples. See also Wilcox, Lauren, ‘Queer theory and the “proper objects” of International Relations’, International Studies Review, 16:4 (2014), pp. 612615 ; Puar, Jasbir K., Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); Duggan, Lisa, The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003).

51 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. xxiii.

52 Butler, Precarious Life. For more on Butler’s concept of normative violence and political theory/international studies, see Chambers, Samuel A., ‘Normative violence after 9/11: Rereading the politics of Gender Trouble’, New Political Science, 29:1 (2007), pp. 4360 ; Chambers, Samuel A. and Carver, Terrell, Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics (New York: Routledge, 2008), and Wilcox, Bodies of Violence.

53 Butler, Judith, ‘How bodies come to matter: an interview with Judith Butler’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 23:2 (1998), p. 281 . In recent years, a social movement in the US against the unjust and unpunished police killings of black people known as ‘Black Lives Matter’ (a phrase first used by an queer black American woman activist, Patrisse Cullors who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi) asserts the ‘mattering’ of lives that are treated with violence, brutality, and neglect. While the question of race is not central to Butler’s work in the way that gender and sexuality is, in Bodies that Matter and in other works Butler’s analysis leads her away from the theoretical prioritisation of sexuality and gender to more complicated maps of power and embodied practices that note the importance of race in structuring gender and sexuality, such that ‘heterosexuality does not have a monopoly on exclusionary logics’ in Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 112. See also Butler, Frames of War; Butler, Performative Theory; and Salih, Sara, Judith Butler (New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 92–5 .

54 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 8.

55 Pouliot, ‘The logic of practicality’; Pouliot, International Security in Practice; Pouliot, International Pecking Orders; Neumann, Iver and Sending, Ole Jacob, Governing the Global Polity: Practice, Mentality, Rationality (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2010); Adler-Nissen, Opting Out.

56 Adler, Emanuel, ‘The spread of security communities’, European Journal of International Relations, 14:2 (2008), p. 201 , citing Wenger, Etienne, Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

57 Andersen, Morten Skumsrud and Neumann, Iver B., ‘Practices as models: a methodology with an illustration concerning Wampum diplomacy’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:3 (2012), p. 470 .

58 Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. xi.

59 For more on the distinction between Butler’s concept of performativity and habituation, see Hopf, ‘The logic of practice’.

60 de Beauvoir, Simone, The Second Sex, trans. Howard Parshley (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), p. 267 . A slightly different translation of this famous quotation serves as first epigraph to the first chapter of Butler’s Gender Trouble.

61 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 177.

62 Butler, Gender Trouble, pp. xiv–xv.

63 Doty, ‘Aporia’.

64 Ibid., p. 376.

65 Cf. Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’.

66 Duvall and Chowdhury, ‘Practice of theory’; Ringmar, ‘The search for dialogue’; Schindler and Wille, ‘Change in and through practice’. For a feminist example, see Jabri, ‘Gender’.

67 Adler and Pouliot, International Practices, p. 7.

68 Neumann, Iver B. and Pouliot, Vincent, ‘Untimely Russia: Hysteresis in Russian-Western relations over the past millennium’, Security Studies, 20:1 (2011), pp. 105137 ; Pouliot, International Security in Practice; Schindler and Wille, ‘Change in and through practice’.

69 Roxanne Doty’s poststructuralist reading of the agent-structure problem in International Relations makes a similar point in her insistence of the indeterminacy of ‘play’ to practices and how ‘practices overflow that which can be accounted for in purely structural or agentic terms’. Doty, ‘Aporia’, p. 377.

70 Butler, Excitable Speech.

71 Duvall and Chowdhury, ‘Practices of theory’, p. 345. See also Doty, ‘Aporia’, p. 385.

72 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 3. Some readers may recognise the repetition of this citation from Hansen, ‘Little Mermaid’, p. 299 and Sylvester, ‘Anatomy’, p. 553 – two other pieces critiquing the exclusion of gender and feminist work from IR theories; in these cases, from critical approaches to security studies.

73 Butler, Excitable Speech, p. 155.

74 Ibid.

75 Schindler and Wille, ‘Change in and through practice’; Adler-Nissen, Opting Out, p. 59. Other ‘practice turn’ theorists cited are less structuralist than Bourdieu, such as de Certeau. See Neumannn, ‘Returning practice’.

76 Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 2.

77 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, Tendencies (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993), p. 8 .

78 Butler, Performative Theory, p. 31.

79 Lene Hansen, ‘Performing practices: a poststructural analysis of the Mohammad cartoon crisis’, in Adler and Pouliot (eds), International Practices, p. 281.

80 Amoore, Louise, ‘Biometric borders: Governing mobilities in the War on Terror’, Political Geography, 25:3 (2006), pp. 336351 .

81 See inter alia Muller, Benjamin J., ‘(Dis)qualified bodies: Securitization, citizenship and “identity management”’, Citizenship Studies, 8:3 (2004), pp. 279294 ; Adey, Peter, ‘Surveillance at the airport: Surveilling mobility/mobilising surveillance’, Environment and Planning A, 36:8 (2004), pp. 13651380 ; Epstein, Charlotte, ‘Guilty bodies, productive bodies, destructive bodies: Crossing the biometric border’, International Political Sociology, 1:2 (2007), pp. 149164 ; Salter, Mark, ‘Governmentalities of an airport: Heterotopia and confession’, International Political Sociology, 1:1 (2007), pp. 4966 ; Salter, Mark (ed.), Politics at the Airport (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008); Adey, Peter, ‘Facing airport security: Affect, biopolitics, and the preemptive securitisation of the mobile body’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 27:2 (2009), pp. 274295 ; Redden, Stephanie and Terry, Jillian, ‘The end of the line: Feminist understandings of resistance to full-body scanning technology’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 15:2 (2012), pp. 234253 ; Bellanova, Rocco and Fuster, Gloria Gonzalez, ‘The politics of disappearance: Scanners and (unobserved) bodies as mediators of security practice’, International Political Sociology, 7:2 (2013), pp. 188209 ; Schouten, Peer, ‘Security as controversy: Reassembling security at Amsterdam airport’, Security Dialogue, 45:1 (2014), pp. 2342 ; Leese, Matthias and Koenigseder, Anja, ‘Humor at the airport? Visualization, exposure, and laughter in the “War on Terror”’, International Political Sociology, 9:1 (2015), pp. 3752 .

82 Genderqueer is a term that refers to people who feel that their gender identity is non-binary, that is, not conforming to either masculine or feminine regardless of their sexed embodiment or sexual orientation. Nestle, Joan, Howell, Clare, and Wilchins, Riki Anne (eds), GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary (Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 2002).

83 There are of course examples of ‘failure’ across all realms of social activity. The focus on feminist/queer theory is to show how any theory of practice necessarily involves a theory of the relationship between the subject and the body, but is also incomplete if it only focuses on behaviours considered to be successful.

84 US Department of Homeland Security, ‘DHS Advisory to Security Personnel; No Change in Threat Level’ (2003), available at: {}.

85 See also Wilcox, Bodies of Violence, pp. 104–30.

86 Doty, ‘Aporia’.

87 Spade, Dean, ‘Documenting gender’, Hastings Law Journal, 59 (2008), pp. 731784 .

88 Currah, Paisley and Mulqueen, Tara, ‘Securitizing gender: Identity, biometrics, and transgender bodies at the airport’, Social Research, 78:2 (2011), pp. 557582 .

89 There are a few exceptions to this: recently, Australia, New Zealand, and India have allowed people to have a gender marker ‘X’ on their passports indicating ‘third gender’, indeterminate or trans- gender status. This does not solve the problem of requiring ‘competent’ gender practices according to the ‘heterosexual matrix’ as trans and intersex and ‘third gender’ people are still frequently harassed and humiliated at airports based on their bodies being considered ‘anomalous’. See, for example, Lane Sainty, ‘Transgender passenger was forced to remove prosthetic by airport security’. Buzzfeed Australia, available at: {} accessed 7 January 2016.

90 Currah and Mulqueen, ‘Securitizing gender’; Salamon, Gayle, Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010); Spade, Dean, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law (Brooklyn, NY: South End Press, 2011).

91 Muller, ‘(Dis)qualified bodies’.

92 Amoore, Louise, The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security beyond Probability (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), p. 101 .

93 Salter, Mark, ‘Passports, mobility and security: How smart can the border be?’, International Studies Perspectives, 5 (2004), pp. 7179 ; Peter Adey, ‘Facing airport security’, p. 277.

94 Magnet, Shoshona Amielle, When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race and the Technology of Identity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); Valkenburg, Govert and van der Ploeg, Irma, ‘Materialities between security and privacy: a constructivist account of airport security scanners’, Security Dialogue, 46:4 (2015), pp. 326344 ; Wilcox, Bodies of Violence, pp. 104–30.

95 Pugliese, Joseph, Biometrics: Bodies, Technologies, Biopolitics (New York and London: Routledge, 2010); Magnet, When Biometrics Fail, p. 42.

96 See also Shepherd and Sjoberg, ‘Trans- bodies in/of war(s)’; Sjoberg, Laura, Gendering Global Conflict: Toward a Feminist Theory of War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), pp. 8590 ; Alissa Bohling, ‘Exclusive: Transgender travelers singled out in TSA screenings, docs show’, Al Jazeera America (26 May 2014), available at: {} accessed 10 January 2016; Cary Gabriel Costello, ‘TSA body screening and the trans body’, Transfusion (25 March 2012), available at: {} accessed 10 January 2016; Cary Gabriel Costello, ‘Traveling while trans: the false promise of better treatment’, Transfusion (3 January 2016), available at: {} accessed 10 January 2016; and Clarkson, Nicholas L, ‘Biometrics’, Transgender Studies Quarterly, 1–2 (2014), pp. 3538 .

97 Costello, ‘TSA bodys screening’; Costello, ‘Travelling while trans’.

98 Katie Rogers, ‘TSA defends treatment of transgender air traveller’, New York Times (22 September 2015), available at: {} accessed 15 Jan 2016.

99 Browne, Simone, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015), p. 132 .

100 See also Beauchamp, Toby, ‘Artful concealment and strategic visibility: Transgender bodies and U.S. state surveillance after 9/11’, Surveillance and Society, 6:4 (2009), pp. 356366 .

101 The United States offers expedited service at the border for ‘pre-approved, low-risk’ travellers as part of their ‘trusted traveller’ network, including ‘Global Entry’ or ‘Nexus’. Such travellers avoid long lines by using kiosks to scan their fingerprints and passports. ‘Trusted Travellers’ in the US can also apply to TSA Pre Check, a service to expedite security screenings (not have to remove shoes, belts, jackets, or laptops). US and Dutch citizens are eligible for similar programmes, ‘FLUX’ or ‘Privium’ in Canada. Other examples of states giving special treatment at the borders to ‘trusted travellers’ include ‘Registered Travellers’ in the UK, Mexico’s ‘Viajero Confiable’, ‘Automatic Gate’ in Japan, ‘Smart Gate’ in Australia and New Zealand, ‘e-gate’ in Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea’s ‘Smart Entry Service’. Such programmes promise faster crossings for pre-approved travellers from certain countries, often linked to providing biometric readings in advance.

102 Nayak, Meghana, Who is Worthy of Protection? Gender-Based Asylum and US Immigration Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), p. 152

103 Shakhsari, Sima, ‘Shuttling between bodies and borders: Iranian transsexual refugees and the politics of rightful killing’, in Susan Stryker and Aren Z. Aizura (eds), The Transgender Reader, Volume II (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 565580 ; Lewis, Rachel, ‘“Gay? Prove it”: the politics of queer anti-deportation activism’, Sexualities, 17:8 (2014), pp. 958975 .

104 Beauchamp, ‘Artful concealment’.

105 Beauchamp, Toby, ‘The substance of borders: Transgender politics, mobility, and the US regulation of testosterone’, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 19:1 (2012), pp. 5778 .

106 Katrina Roen discusses a tension in trans- politics as ‘both/neither’ versus ‘either/or’ in which some trans- people take a position of refusal to fit within categories of man and woman while ‘either/or’ refers to the imperative by some trans- people to pass convincingly as either a man or a woman. Roen, Katrina, ‘“Either/or” and “both/neither”: Discursive tensions in transgender politics’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 27:2 (2002), pp. 501522 . Weber’s articulation of ‘and/or’ logic may be said to encompass both of these positions (‘Queer intellectual curiosity’).

107 Sedgwick, Tendencies, p. 8.

108 Weber, ‘Queer intellectual curiosity’, p. 9.

109 Ibid.; Weber, Cynthia, Queer International Relations: Sovereignty, Sexuality and the Will to Knowledge (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 4043 .

110 Weber, Cynthia, Faking It: US Hegemony in a Post-Phallic Era (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999). See also Weber, Cynthia, ‘“What is told is always in the telling”: Reflections on Faking It in 21st century IR/global politics’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 45:1 (forthcoming 2017).

111 Stone, Sandy, ‘The “Empire” strikes back: a posttransexual manifesto’, in K. Conboy, N. Medina, and S. Stanbury (eds), Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997 [orig. pub. 1991]), p. 352 , emphasis in original.

112 Weber, ‘Why is there no queer International Relations theory?’.

113 Bueger and Gadinger, ‘The play of international practice’, p. 2.

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