The continued use of simple identity politics has been brought to the fore by the current debates surrounding the acceptability of gay marriage. Many groups have and will rally around an identity category in rights-based struggles. However, gender and queer theorists have questioned the effectiveness of this strategy and, more broadly, the logic of identity categories. This paper examines the work of a number of gender and queer theorists, including Judith Butler, Wendy Brown and Michel Foucault, and their move away from a simple identity politics. Despite the number of theorists, their diverse approaches and their disparate terminologies two main reasons for this divergence emerged from this study. Firstly, a simple identity politics fails to acknowledge the spatial and temporal diversity and change of social categories. Secondly, a simple identity politics unquestioningly operates in and through the dominant Western binary discourse; thus often strengthening this discourse and inadvertently weakening the position of those employing a simple identity politics. Combining the arguments from queer and gender theory this paper goes on to highlight and suggest ways in which a non-simple identity politics can be created and used in more sophisticated political and theoretical strategies. This offers a more effective conceptualisation of political struggle which enhances the potential to effect radical change.
Keywords: queer, gender, identity politics, post-structural theory, feminist geography