Judith Butler: On organizing subjectivities

Sociological Review 53:63-79 (2005)
In this essay, I evoke and explore Butler's potential contribution, providing a broad framework for her work, and, at the same time, focusing on specific concepts from her writings - performativity, iteration, and foreclosure - that have profound implications for researchers. Furthermore, pointing out philosophers working in the phenomenological tradition in which Butler trained, including influential precursors, colleagues, and contemporaries, establishes how issues raised in various fields can be recognized and comprehended in relation to Butler's work more generally. Butler's work - radical as it may seem - responds to classic questions of ontology, philosophy of language, and epistemology. A phenomenological description aimed at opening access to Butler’s notion of the tropological inauguration of the subject – that is, the ‘turning back’ induced by a limiting boundary that brings subjectivity into experience – attempts to place Butler’s central concepts before the reader.
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