Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "sex"

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Psychology Press, 1993 - Philosophy - 288 pages
63 Reviews
In Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler further develops her distinctive theory of gender by examining the workings of power at the most "material" dimensions of sex and sexuality. Deepening the inquiries she began in Gender Trouble, Butler offers an original reformulation of the materiality of bodies, 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 start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She offers a clarification of the notion of "performativity" introduced in Gender Trouble and explores the meaning of a citational politics. The text includes readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud on the formation of materiality and bodily boundaries; "Paris is Burning," Nella Larsen's "Passing," and short stories by Willa Cather; along with a reconsideration of "performativity" and politics in feminist, queer, and radical democratic theory.

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Review: Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex"

User Review  - Goodreads

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. Read full review

Review: Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex"

User Review  - Joseph Sverker - Goodreads

2014: This is supposedly Butler's reply and clarification on some of the critique she received for Gender Trouble. I write supposedly with regard to the clarification because to my mind this book is ... Read full review



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About the author (1993)

Judith Butler was born in 1956. She is nationally known for her writings on gender and sexuality. She argues that men and women are not dissimilar and that the notion they are is cultural not biological in books such as Bodies That Matter: On The Discursive Limits Of "Sex" (1993), Excitable Speech: Contemporary Scenes Of Politics (1996), and The Psychic Life Of Power: Theories In Subjection (1997). In Gender Trouble (1990), the title a play on John Waters' camp classic Female Trouble (1975), Butler claims that both gender and drag are a kind of imitation for which there is no original. A professor of philosophy at University of California at Berkeley, Butler attended Yale, receiving a B.A. in 1978 and a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1984.

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