This essay considers method and style in the work of Lauren Berlant, with particular attention to questions of evidence, scale, and exemplarity. Berlant has explored these issues through her analysis of the genre of the case study, with its competing demands of singularity and representativeness.
The essay tracks her concern with “the becoming general of singular things” from her analysis of queer and cultural studies methodology to the obese body as a case. I argue that, rather than resolving the contradictions of the case-study form, Berlant exacerbates them in order
to make visible the political impasse of the present.