Chapter 2 Drag Racing the Neoliberal Circuit: Latina/o Camp and the Contingencies of Resistance

  • Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson
Part of the Literatures of the Americas book series (LOA)


Neoliberalism describes the nexus of political, economic, and cultural forces that shape notions of subjectivity, agency, and community under globalization. It is both the context and content of transnational capitalism; both Ugly Betty (2006–2010) and RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-present) are its products, and their success can partly be attributed to the ways in which both can be read as either postracial or multicultural televisual spaces. Mass media representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality matter to how we understand both the ways neoliberalism obscures its organizing structures, and conversely, the ways in which mass media representations can make those structures visible for critique. Both Ugly Betty and RuPaul’s Drag Race explicitly thematize self-fashioning, and Latina/o subjectivity is articulated in a Latina/o camp register in a way that presents challenges to neoliberal models of subjectivity and citizenship. These challenges, however, depend on humor. Drawing on queer Chicano and Latino theories of camp and utopia, I argue that Latina/o camp articulates the ironies and contingencies of resistance on television. Latina/o camp can operate as part of an oppositional consciousness that is differential and potentially generative of sites of contestation (Sandoval 1998).


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© Ellie D. Hernández and Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson 2014

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  • Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson

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