With the publication of her highly acclaimed and much-cited book Gender Trouble, Judith Butler became one of the most influential feminist theorists of her generation. Her theory of gender performativity and her writings on corporeality, on the injurious capacity of language, on the vulnerability of human life to violence and on the impact of mourning on politics have, taken together, comprised a substantial and highly original body of work that has a wide and truly cross-disciplinary appeal.
In this lively book, Moya Lloyd provides both a clear exposition and an original critique of Butler's work. She examines Butlers core ideas, traces the development of her thought from her first book to her most recent work, and assesses Butlers engagements with the philosophies of Hegel, Foucault, Derrida, Irigaray and de Beauvoir, as well as addressing the nature and impact of Butler's writing on feminist theory. Throughout Lloyd is particularly concerned to examine Butler's political theory, including her critical interventions in such contemporary political controversies as those surrounding gay marriage, hate-speech, human rights, and September 11 and its aftermath.
Judith Butler offers an accessible and original contribution to existing debates that will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.
M. Lloyd, Senior Lecturer, Loughborough University
Abbreviations x Acknowledgements xii 1 Introduction 1 Feminism, identity and difference 4 From homosexual to gay and lesbian to queer 7 The influence of poststructuralism 10 Hegel and desiring subjects 13 Postscript 23 2 Rethinking Sex and Gender 25 The trouble with women 25 Feminism and the sex/gender debate 28 Denaturalizing sex and gender 30 Cultural intelligibility contesting heteronormativity 33 From phenomenology to performativity 36 Performing gender 42 Women in/and feminism 44 Conclusion 46 3 Towards a Subversive Gender Politics 49 From parody to politics 50 Subversive gender politics 51 Performativity and subversion 54 Free will versus determinism 57 Enter iterability 61 The ambivalence of drag 66 The matter of bodies 68 Politicizing abjection making bodies matter 74 Conclusion 76 4 Psychoanalysis and the Gendered Subject 78 Gender Trouble and psychoanalysis 79 Rubin and 'The Traffic in Women' 80 Freud and Oedipus 82 Melancholic gender identifi cations 83 Melancholia and performativity 85 Lacan and Oedipus 88 Assuming sex 89 Locating resistance 91 Kinship matters 93 Psychic subjectivity 97 Passionate attachment and primary dependency 99 Resisting Butler 102 Conclusion 105 5 'Talking Back' Resignifi cation and Politics 107 Words that Wound 108 The force of the performative 110 Opposing sovereign performatives 113 A linguistic account of subjectivity 115 Linguistic subjectivity and responsibility 118 Revisiting agency politics and resignifi cation 120 Against the state 126 Conclusion 133 6 What Makes for a Liveable Life? 134 Normative violence and questions of liveability 135 Corporeal vulnerability 138 Mourning and grief 141 Questions of recognition 143 What's wrong with 'desiring the state's desire'? 146 The politics of radical democracy 14 Cultural translation 150 Conclusion 154 Notes 157 Bibliography 182 Index 197