My new proposed title is:
Defending the Other or Confronting Normality?
I'm enjoying the double-meaning of "confronting" - both the verbal sense of challenging, and the adjectival sense of difficulty, struggle. This latter sense is pretty much what I'm advocating - a constant process of challenging dominant, homogenising, Othering processes that devalue diversity, including "progressive" discourses that try to normalise and tame the Other, instead, I advocate pushing the boundaries to acknowledge the breadth of human diversity.
In my more confrontational moments, I consider taking on the more stigmatised aspects of each of the categories I'm analysing, for example taking on S/m or "bug chasing" behaviour within queer culture, or "radical" Islamist clerics, or anti-social personality disorder. Although many mouth the rhetoric of tolerance, everyone draws lines, finding certain practices/identities abhorrent. I think that we often choose to put our heads in the sand, pretending that queers are all very respectable, Muslims are docile, and people with mental illnesses are pitiable. I suspect that the word "radical" (as opposed to moderate) often serves to delineate acceptable from not. Which amuses me, because my history in radical feminism - and my affiliation with radical environmentalism - means that I appreciate radical thought for how it sees itself, as taking ideas to their logical conclusion, with full integrity. To use the word "radical" as a simple perjorative is deeply misguided.
Anyway, this post is going off track (that's why i blog after all, to be able to weave along whatever track takes my fancy) ...