• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Acknowledged as one of the most influential thinkers of modern times, an understanding of Judith Butler's work is ever more essential to an understanding of not just the landscape of cultural and critical theory, but of the world around us. Understanding Judith Butler, however, can be perceived as a complex and difficult undertaking.

It needn't be. Using contemporary and topical examples from the media, popular culture and everyday life, this lively and accessible introduction shows how the issues, concepts, and theories in Butler's work function as socio-cultural practices.

Giving due consideration to Butler's earlier and most recent work, and showing how her ideas on subjectivity, gender, sexuality and language overlap and interrelate, this book gives a better understanding not only of Butler's work, but of its applications to modern-day social and cultural practices and contexts.

Introduction
Introduction

I would like to start, and to end, with the question of the human, of who counts as human, and the related question of whose lives count as lives, and with a question that has preoccupied many of us for years: what makes for a grievable life? (Butler 2004: 17–18)

In the range of critiques that followed the publication of Judith Butler's Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), among the most persistent were those that contended that this text – with its dense and complex language, its commitment to the possibilities of parody and trouble, and its central contention that both the category of women, and the bodies that mark one as belonging to that category, are constructions – was at a ...

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