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.




In an essay in the 1991 collection, Inside/Out, Butler takes issue with the notion of ‘lesbian’ as place from which to theorise. Noting that elsewhere she has argued that ‘identity categories tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes’ (Butler 1991: 13), Butler acknowledges the political expediency, at times, of appearing ‘under the sign of lesbian’, but qualifies that in a wish ‘to have it permanently unclear what precisely that sign signifies’ (p. 14). In Gender Trouble (1990), her critique of women as the subject of feminism seeks to move the framework of the debate away from how to ensure the full representation within that category, and toward questions of what gendered structures of power are sustained by the exclusionary mechanisms of the relationship of ...

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