David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Contemporary Political Theory 4 (1):4 (2005)
Judith Butler's contribution to feminist political thought is usually approached in terms of her concept of performativity, according to which gender exists only insofar as it is ritualistically and repetitively performed, creating permanent possibilities for performing gender in new and transgressive ways. In this paper, I argue that Butler's politics of performativity is more fundamentally grounded in the concept of genealogy, which she adapts from Foucault and, ultimately, Nietzsche. Butler understands women to have a genealogy: to be located within a history of overlapping practices and reinterpretations of femininity. This genealogical understanding of femininity allows Butler to propose a coalitional feminist politics, which requires no unity among women but only loosely overlapping connections. For Butler, feminist coalitions should aim to subvert, not consolidate, entrenched norms concerning femininity. Butler has been criticized, however, for failing to explain either how subversive agency is possible or why the subversion of gender norms is desirable. Reviewing these criticisms, I argue that Butler offers a convincing explanation of the possibility of subversive agency, but that the normative dimension of her political thought remains relatively underdeveloped. I explore how the normative aspect of Butler's thought could be strengthened by recasting her notion of genealogy along more thoroughly Nietzschean and materialist lines, in terms of an idea of active and multiple bodily forces
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Dennis Thompson (2007). Power and Resistance: Perpetuating and Challenging Capitalist Exploitation. Contemporary Political Theory 6 (1):4-23.
Similar books and articles
Terrell Carver & Samuel Allen Chambers (eds.) (2008). Judith Butler's Precarious Politics: Critical Encounters. Routledge.
Ori J. Herstein (2010). Justifying Subversion: Why Nussbaum Got (the Better Interpretation of) Butler Wrong. Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law and Social Policy 18:43-73.
Sara Salih (2002). Judith Butler. Routledge.
Gertrude Postl (2009). From Gender as Performative to Feminist Performance Art. Radical Philosophy Review 12 (1/2):87-103.
Robert E. Watkins (2008). Vulnerability, Vengeance, and Community : Butler's Political Thought and Eastwood's Mystic River. In Terrell Carver & Samuel Allen Chambers (eds.), Judith Butler's Precarious Politics: Critical Encounters. Routledge.
Kathleen Dow Magnus (2006). The Unaccountable Subject: Judith Butler and the Social Conditions of Intersubjective Agency. Hypatia 21 (2):81-103.
Kathleen Ennis, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler: Troubling Butler's Appropriation of Foucault's Work.
Linda M. G. Zerilli (2008). Feminists Know Not What They Do : Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and the Limits of Epistemology. In Terrell Carver & Samuel Allen Chambers (eds.), Judith Butler's Precarious Politics: Critical Encounters. Routledge.
Elena Loizidou (2007). Judith Butler: Ethics, Law, Politics. Routledge-Cavendish.
Fiona Webster (2000). The Politics of Sex and Gender: Benhabib and Butler Debate Subjectivity. Hypatia 15 (1):1-22.
Marcel Stoetzler (2005). Subject Trouble: Judith Butler and Dialectics. Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (3):343-368.
Linnell Secomb (2007). Words That Matter : Reading the Performativity of Humanity Through Butler and Blanchot. In Judith Butler & Bronwyn Davies (eds.), Judith Butler in Conversation: Analyzing the Texts and Talk of Everyday Life. Routledge.
Amy Allen (2005). “Dependency, Subordination, and Recognition: On Judith Butler's Theory of Subjection”. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 38 (3-4):199-222.
Amy Allen (1998). Power Trouble: Performativity as Critical Theory. Constellations 5 (4):456-471.
Added to index2011-01-29
Total downloads27 ( #67,261 of 1,099,536 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #87,413 of 1,099,536 )
How can I increase my downloads?