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.

Symbolic Violence

Symbolic violence


To a marked extent Excitable Speech (1997a), and other more recent texts such as Antigone's Claim (2000), Undoing Gender (2004), Giving an Account of Oneself (2005) and Precarious Life (2006), are primarily concerned with analysing the processes and techniques that characterise symbolic violence. Excitable Speech could be characterised as an attempt to address and work through the issue of injurious or hate speech. It weaves across and between a number of exemplificative cases and sites, including pornography, abortion, Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs, gangsta rap lyrics, US military policy re (declarations of) homosexuality and, somewhat less obviously, US Supreme Court decisions and their accompanying commentaries.

The last example is particularly significant, for two main reasons. First, it clearly directs the subsequent narrative in the direction ...

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