Cite as: Antke Engel, ‘Desiring Tension: Towards a Queer Politics of Paradox’, in Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 227–50 <>

Desiring TensionTowards a Queer Politics of ParadoxAntke Engel


The article provides a close reading of the video Sometimes you fight for the world, sometimes you fight for yourself, dir. by Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz (2004, 5’). It reads the video as promoting what it calls a ‘queer politics of paradox’, that is, a politics that acknowledges desire as a constitutive moment of the political and at the same time challenges the political via a queer understanding of desire in order to make room for the political articulation of the Other. The article argues that a reworking of the political — one that aims at de-centring its hegemonic dynamic and creating space for Otherness — becomes possible if one invites paradox as a specific, anti-identitarian, and agonistic mode of tension to function as a constitutive moment of desire and of the political.

Pauline Boudry, Renate Lorenz, paradox, politics, queer theory, tension, video