In her book Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude (2013), Adriana Cavarero states that queer theories constitute a fundamental critique of «the hegemony of the hierarchizing dispositif of heterosexuality that turns ‘right’ and ‘straight’ into synonyms», because they challenge «Homo erectus and consign him to his own ‘bad inclinations’, which are ‘abnormal’ and as a consequence ‘unnatural’». The book does not contain further references to queer theories, but in some previous works Cavarero has entered in an intense dialogue with queer scholar Judith Butler. In Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence (2007), for instance, Cavarero dicusses with Butler about Emmanuel Lévinas’ theory of the precedence of the Other over the self, which she interprets, differently from Butler, in terms of the precedence of the caring mother over the child. Cavarero never engages, instead, with a different trend in queer thought – so-called ‘antisocial theories’. And nothing, indeed, seems more distant from her relational ontology and her ethics of care. In No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004), for examplee, Lee Edelman argues against the centrality of the Child as matrix of meaning and understands queerness as the break of all human relations. Yet, it is my argument that precisely anti-social theorists Lee Edelman, Leo Bersani (The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art, 1986) and Teresa de Lauretis (Freud’s Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film, 2010) may complement Cavarero’s view of the vulnerable subject, her critique of the concept of rectitude and her understanding of sexual impulses as ‘bad inclinations’. To give an account of the ‘inclining’ force of sex, Cavarero refers to the traditional category of «sins of the flesh against nature (crimina carnis contra naturam)», which still appears in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals (1797). Antisocial queer theorists, instead, prefer the concept of ‘drive’, as developed by Freud in the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). According to them, the drive is not the same as the instinct: the sexual drive rather perverts the (‘straight and right’) instinct of reproduction into a (‘queer’) quest for jouissance which pushes the subject Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud 1920), that is, beyond the instinct of self-preservation. In their view, the drive is essentially masochistic and narcissistic, being what is abnormal and unnatural in human nature, and anti-relational in human relationality. But the ‘drive’ also testifies to the ontological dependence of the subject on the inclination of the other, being the obscene double of maternal care.
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