Queering the quality of desire: Perverse use-values in transnational Chinese cultures

Alvin K. Wong

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay presents a queer Sinophone rethinking of Marx’s concept of value. Specifically, a queer theory informed by materialist critique can account for how certain bodies are rendered normative and valuable and others as devalued within neoliberal globalisation in contemporary China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I coin the term ‘perverse use-value’ to name the reification of queer bodies as risky, socially non-reproductive, and hence perverse; alternatively, a critical reckoning of how queer bodies assume perverse meanings can point to the ways queer subjects and cultural producers boldly occupy the negativity of perversion. Examining Cui Zi’en’s 2003 film Money Boy Diaries based in Beijing, Simon Chung’s 2009 Hong Kong film End of Love and the queer Taiwan poet Chen Kehua’s 2006 collection of poems called A Kind Man, this essay demonstrates the queer potentiality to remake lifeworlds within and against the developmental logics of neoliberalism and homonormative sexual respectability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalCulture, Theory and Critique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 3

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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