Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

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Overview

Since its publication in 1990, Gender Trouble has become one of the key works of contemporary feminist theory, and an essential work for anyone interested in the study of gender, queer theory, or the politics of sexuality in culture. As Judith Butler writes in the

major essay that stands as preface to the new edition, one point of Gender Trouble was 'not to prescribe a new gendered way of life, but to open of the field of possibility for gender.' Widely taught, and widely debated, Gender Trouble continues to offer a powerful critique

of heteronormativity and of the function of gender in the modern world.

Judith Butler's new preface situates Gender Trouble within the past decade of work on gender, and counters some common misconceptions about the book and its aims.

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Editorial Reviews

Sandra Lee Bartky
The most authoritative attack to date on the naturalness of gender. This is a brilliant and innovative book.
Lingua Franca
Library Journal
Radical feminist Butler investigates the theoretical roots of an ontology of gender identity to show their political parameters. She questions traditional and feminist sex/gender distinctions, arguing that the basic concepts in this discourse are themselves produced by relations of power. The result is a subversive and sometimes original work drawing on Foucault, Lacan, Sartre, etc. Unfortunately, Butler's style is often difficult and unreadable, like the French philosophers who've influenced her, and her controversial ideas will try the patience of all but the most sympathetic scholars. Too bad. Her numerous critics would have had a field day with this variation of gender-is-culture argument, based on De Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Yet Butler is not as convincing as De Beauvoir, despite 19 pages of footnotes. For specialists only.-- Mark P. Maller, Cicero P.L., Ill.
Booknews
Since its original publication in 1990, this work has been translated in 9 languages and has become one the key works of contemporary feminist theory. It offers a powerful critique of heteronormativity and of the function of gender in the modern world. Material is in sections on subjects of sex/gender/desire; prohibition, psychoanalysis, and the production of the heterosexual matrix; and subversive bodily acts. This edition contains a new preface by the author, situating the work within the past decade of passionate debates on gender and sexuality, and countering some common misconceptions about the book and its aims. The author is professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at UC-Berkeley. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Village Voice
...as a philosopher of gender Judith Butler is unparalleled.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415900430
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/1/1990
  • Series: Thinking Gender Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Butler is Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Among her books are Bodies That Matter and Excitable Speech, and Feminists Theorize the Political (coedited with Joan W. Scott), all available from Routledge.

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Table of Contents

Preface (1999)
Preface (1990)
1 Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire 3
I "Women" as the Subject of Feminism 3
II The Compulsory Order of Sex/Gender/Desire 9
III Gender: The Circular Ruins of Contemporary Debate 11
IV Theorizing the Binary, the Unitary, and Beyond 18
V Identity, Sex, and the Metaphysics of Substance 22
VI Language, Power, and the Strategies of Displacement 33
2 Prohibition, Psychoanalysis, and the Production of the Heterosexual Matrix 45
I Structuralism's Critical Exchange 49
II Lacan, Riviere, and the Strategies of Masquerade 55
III Freud and the Melancholia of Gender 73
IV Gender Complexity and the Limits of Identification 84
V Reformulating Prohibition as Power 91
3 Subversive Bodily Acts 101
I The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva 101
II Foucault, Herculine, and the Politics of Sexual Discontinuity 119
III Monique Wittig: Bodily Disintegration and Fictive Sex 141
IV Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions 163
Conclusion: From Parody to Politics 181
Notes 191
Index 217
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    Not completely practical, but nevertheless highly influential

    There are serious limits to Butler's philosophical framework here, most notably in the degree to which she seems to assume that we can deliberately produce gender trouble in order to subvert normative sociopolitical practices, and in her assumption that identity politics within feminist movement can serve no further political purpose. Nevertheless, the text remains highly influential within academia for its deconstruction of our notions of sex/gender/desire and for its singlehanded founding of what would become queer studies. However, one must keep in mind that there are critical corrections Butler herself makes in her later work to some of the rhetorcial strategies she employs here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2000

    break the boundaries and read this!

    Everyone should read this book,because it helps break down the social roles we are all faced with into what they really MEAN in our lives and how they retrict us to one behavior or another according to gender.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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