Bodies That Matter On the Discursive Limits of Sex PDF


Bodies That Matter On the Discursive Limits of Sex [PDF / EPUB] Bodies That Matter On the Discursive Limits of Sex In Bodies That Matter renowned theorist and philosopher Judith Butler argues that theories of gender need to return to the most material dimension of sex and sexuality the body Butler offers a brillia In Bodies That Matter Matter On Kindle Ö renowned theorist and philosopher Judith Butler argues that theories of gender need to return to the most material dimension of sex and sexuality the body Butler offers a brilliant reworking of the body examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the matter of bodies sex and gender Butler argues that power operates to constrain sex from the Bodies That Kindle - start delimiting what counts as a viable sex She clarifies the notion of performativity introduced in Gender Trouble and via bold readings of Plato Irigaray Lacan and Freud explores the meaning of a citational politics She also draws on documentary and literature with compelling interpretations of the film Paris is Burning Nella Larsen's Passing and short stories by Willa Cather.


10 thoughts on “Bodies That Matter On the Discursive Limits of Sex

  1. says:

    I feel like it's socially irresponsible to conduct a conversation about such an important topic using language that makes that conversation inaccessible to so much of the population We get it You're a smarty pants But you fail to move the pegs when you're only talking to other academics


  2. says:

    In Bodies that Matter Judith Butler replies to the criticism of her earlier book Gender Trouble She argues with the feminist thinkers who see the body as matter a material body with a sexual specification According to her the body does not exist beyond a cultural construction It serves as a site for the feminist theory independently of such a pre discursive definition In her introduction she explains For surely bodies live and die; eat and sleep; feel pain pleasure; endure illness and violence; and these “facts” one might skeptically proclaim cannot be dismissed as mere construction But their irrefutability in no way implies what it might mean to affirm them and through what discursive means Moreover why is it that what is constructed is understood as an artificial and dispensable character? xi The construction of bodies is a constitutive constraint and bodies are understood through it She states again that both body and gender are parts of discourse The only way to reach the matter beyond discourse is through discourse itself After all it is the discourse that defines the body as a matter existing beyond it Inspired by Foucault she contends that discourse is based on power relations and manipulated by those who control the sources of knowledge The definition of what is natural is manipulated as well Henceforth the materiality of the body is discursive The material body its boundaries and its sexuality materialize through the repetition of policing norms The norms attribute meaning to it Even the body limits are the product of social codes according to which certain practices are allowed and others are not Butler goes back to the concept of performativity and confirms that repeatedly performed acts normalize an attributed gender as well as marks of race class and sexuality Discourse defines certain bodies as natural thus marginalizing others This alludes to the fact that the accepted body does not owe it to its biological characteristics but to cultural signs Based on Luce Iragaray’s Lacanian analysis Butler also investigates the political coherence for which certain bodies are not legitimized Through her own and Iragaray’s analysis of Platos’ work Timaeus she reaches the conclusion that the marginalized bodies are related to homosexuality She concludes that deconstruction cannot be based on already constituted references Only a truly open debate can bring change


  3. says:

    Whilst I can't speak highly enough of the fantastic ideas in this book it does share a problem with many post modern critical writings It insists on hiding simple yet powerful ideas behind overly esoteric language potentially rendering them inaccessible to people who could make great use of them A book intended to have conseuences for society as a whole shouldn't be written in language that is only understandable to those privileged few who posses degrees in related subjects Given the subject matter it is clearly impossible that jargon be avoided altogether Still there were many moments where things could have be said simply but were not If it were possible to give separate reviews for content and form I would give five stars for content and one for form and recommend that people read it but be prepared for an uphill struggle Since this is not possible however I will give it three stars and recommend that people read it but be prepared for an uphill struggle


  4. says:

    This certainly cleared up a few ideas that seemed vague in Gender Trouble Butler asserts here that the performativity of gender does not imply an agency that allows one to put it on and take it off as one pleases which is in dialogue with Spivak's elaboration of deconstruction where she dismisses the idea of free play Performativity in this sense is a repetitive reiteration that imagines and images a coherent identity at the cost of its own complexity It is not a matter of antagonizing the one who performs or the performance itself but to make the distinction which then results in the shattering of the heterosexual matrixWhat still needs further elaboration within this discussion is the materiality of sex I understand and concur with Butler's dismissal of the idea that sex is in a sense a tabula rasa free of identity onto which gender is projected Sex then also enters our perception through discourse and is made sense of discursively But where does one draw the line? Which part of the materiality of the body is to be understood as that which is essential to sexuality? To say that our understanding of sex is shaped by discourse is one thing but that reuires a clarification of the extent to which genitality dictates sexuality On the other hand I really admire Butler's suggestion that a project worth pursuing is of alternative imaginary schemas for constituting sites of erotogenic pleasure I was first introduced to this idea through Elizabeth Grosz's reading of desire in Spinoza which led to a call for the proliferation of zones of pleasure one that would not privilege genitality I would certainly like to think and read on thisI have to admit that I'm still not sure about Butler's insistance on psychoanalysis as a tool of empowerment that can be appropriated It seems to me thus far that Lacan's phallogocentric discourse along with Zizek's reading of Lacan and criticism of poststructuralism feminism and particularly Foucault is bluntly sexist heterosexist and essentialist I certainly like reading Butler's take on it and there is some due credit to this idea of reversal which can also be traced back to the appropriation of the word 'ueer' itself by ueer activists but I'm not entirely convinced that this is the best way to deal with contemporary issues I'd like to think that psychoanalysis has lost its widespread influence on how we make sense of the worldAnd just how beautiful is this The power of the terms 'women' or 'democracy' is not derived from their ability to describe adeuately or comprehensively a political reality that already exists; on the contrary the political signifier becomes efficacious by instituting and sustaining a set of connections as a political reality In this sense the political signifier in Zizek's view operates as a performative rather than a representational term Paradoxically the political efficacy of the signifier does not consist in its representational capacity; the term neither represents nor expresses some already existing subjects or their interests The signifier's efficacy is confirmed by its capacity to structure and constitute the political field to create new subject positions and new interests


  5. says:

    It's worth reading but I consider Butler much stronger on immigration and citizenship concerns than on those of sexuality I recognize her lexicon makes a fair bit of her writing generally inaccessible but having taken on her works half a dozen times I don't notice that anyFrom using the sole individual case of David Reimer to make sweeping statements on gender which she conflates into sex at the most disturbing of times imposing a change in pronouns onto someone else's repeatedly expressed preference to then declaring it supports transsexuals when in fact it is routinely used in anti medical transition rhetoric I struggle to voice my opposition to her work amidst the flood of praise she garners from most people in my circles


  6. says:

    This is the second Judith Butler book I've read the other being Gender Trouble and I found it as interesting and enlightening as the first As a cis male I would originally be thought of as an outsider However once you enter into the text you realise that this has repercussions for every individual regardless of sex gender sexuality ethnicity or any other form of identity you can think of Discussing gender may focus on those who are oppressed as in feminism or gay and lesbian studies or marginalisedexcluded as in ueer theory but it nonetheless allows one to reflect back upon one's own situationIt's true that Butler isn't the easiest read you could hope for She's the winner of the Bad Writer of the Year award which says a lot Rather than defending the uality of her writing I'd prefer to defend the content I don't think there's a great philosophical reason to defend her style so I won't Some sentences amble on forever and I did actually need to go back and break them down in a way I haven't done since I was in primary school However I disagree thoroughly with critics like Nussbaum who argue that there is no substance behind the lengthy sentences and it's just another Derridean attempt to be obfuscatory Let's face it that's the general criticism of anyone who falls under the unhelpfully broad monikers of postmodern or continental philosophy even those that I've always found clear like Foucault or Laclau Stylistic problems aside something we have to accept in Butler's work there is still plenty to get you thinking especially the chapters on Paris is Burning her re reading of Zizek and Laclau and dare I say improvement upon them as well as the closing chapter on being Critically ueerA superb read especially for an impulse buy


  7. says:

    i've been carrying this around for years now reading bits of it i don't think i'll ever read it in its entirety; not dedicated enough to wrestle with butler's style when i don't need to i suppose nevertheless the ideas in here are important and matter still 25 years later


  8. says:

    This book is clearly a better version of her other book gender trouble It explains in much detail the ueering performativity which allows individuals to define themselves beyond just sexuality


  9. says:

    Butler not only looks like a mad German philosopher but writes like one


  10. says:

    Yes it feels pretentious to give Butler 5 stars or to consider this one of the best books I read this year but I think she's just fantastic People bitch and moan about her 'moonspeak' but frankly I think it's rare to find a theorist or a philosopher inclined to help the reader understand there's a highly methodical repetitive uality to the way she states her ideas It's clear to me that she wants her reader to follow along it's just that the ideas at hand are freuently so dense that it's near impossible to 'master' them in the way she seems to I know I've got many many readings of this text ahead of me because even having read this a couple of months ago and reread a couple of the chapters over the course of the semester for papers and such I'm already losing my grasp in the uicksand of a lot of it The introduction and the title chapter are perhaps the most dense and the most challenging to just read through but both are well worth it Some of the Lesbian Phallus chapter was over my head because of my limited experience with Freud Lacan and Irigaray but it also had some really unexpected hilarious lowbrow dick humor from Butler she says at the beginning of the chapter something along the lines of perhaps the promise of a phallus is always somewhat disappointing Her readings of Nella Larsen's 'Passing' and the documentary film 'Paris is Burning' are both simply awe inspiring; for each she breaks them down into their most basic components and offers compelling interpretations of each in the context of her own argument and against others' arguments this is particularly fun to watch in the chapter on 'Paris is Burning' In short this was not my first experience with Butler but it was my most in depth and it was so rewarding I genuinely found this to be one of the most provocative engaging and all around best books I worked through this year Looking forward to experiences with good ol' Judy B


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