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The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 1997


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Judith Butler's writing has become a cornerstone of queer theory. In Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex, she drew upon Freud, Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan to explore the connections between sex, politics, and identity, and The Psychic Life of Power continues her inquiry into these ideas. While she revisits, and revises, some of her earlier thoughts--such as her theory of gender as performance--she breaks much new ground here. Using Hegel and Nietzsche (as well as a critique of psychoanalysis) for theoretical support, Butler probes how the idea of "subjection"--to become a subject, to have a consciousness--interfaces with having a gay or lesbian identity. Discussing such topics as drag, gays-in-the-military, and AIDS to illustrate her ideas, Butler manages to locate her philosophical theories in a concrete world, and although her earlier work could sometimes be as dense as it was rewarding, The Psychic Life of Power is lucid and highly readable. --Michael Bronski

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"The emergence of self-consciousness is rooted in paradox - for becoming a subject is intricately bound up with being subjected. This insight ... is explored and developed as [Butler's] book unfolds, taking the reader through a tour de force of its rhetorical, linguistic, philosophical, psychoanalytic, and social and political implications." - Modern Psychoanalysis

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Amazon.com: 6 Rezensionen
22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Paradox of Subjection 14. Mai 2001
Von oudeis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In *The Psychic Life of Power* Judith Butler provides a critical inquiry into the process of subject formation that reveals the self-conscious subject as necessary paradox. Her main argument is that the emergence of the subject depends on subjection to power and yet the subject that is inaugurated exceeds this power, because subjection can never fully totalize the subject. In order to elaborate her theoretical movements Butler draws on Hegel, Nietzsche, Foucault, Althusser, and Freud. The main metaphors for understanding the works of subjection are the turning of the subject on itself and the interpellation of the subject by the other. Consciousness and desire function as guiding categories for the analysis. Taking on the much discussed question of the possibility of agency Butler shows that the normalizing effect of social norms always produces an inassimilable remainder in the subject from where resistance against those norms becomes possible. *The Psychic Life of Power* provides a very powerful rethinking of the question of subjectivity and self-consciousness, even though - or maybe because of - the individual chapters' appearance as separate essays. In the introduction, however, Butler reveals how the various explorations all fit together in her thinking. A new stage of Butlerian lucidity - in and on Butlerian terms, though.
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Psyche Meets Subject 29. September 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I've read this book three times in the past several months in preparation for giving a talk on post-structural perspectives on early childhood gender and sexual development in psychoanalysis. As always, I find the effort it takes to understand Butler's writing to pay off richly in the brilliance of her arguments. In particular, I was drawn to two sections in this book: the first a reconsidering of who it is that turns to become a subject in Althusser's model of interpellation, and the second an exchange of papers with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in which both grapple with how her work might be informed by psychoanalytic practice and the practice might be informed by her work. Having read this book both prior to and after immersing myself in Freud, Lacan and some of their major commentators, I found that I got far more out of Butler's book with a stronger background in the language and assumptions of psychoanalysis.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Butler Par Excellence 9. April 2005
Von Lost Lacanian - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This Butler is her best yet. It is imaginative, provocative, and excellently argues. She moves through a number of theories and discourses including Althusser, Freudian psychoanalysis, Foucault, and Hegel in order to argue out a VERY important concept: passionate attachments. This concept of Butler's represents a major intervention and contribution for radical politics. The basic idea is the subjects becomes attached to the conditions of their own subjectivity EVEN if these conditions are oppressive one. Very interesting and suggestive point. This book is well worth the buy just to see how Butler will argue this point out. If I have one criticism of Butler is that her discussion ultimately resonates with a number of Lacanian concepts, but she still maintains her skeptical distance from Lacan--these Lacanian criticisms can be found in Zizek's excellent "The Ticklish Subject."
21 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Continuation of Thoughts on Subjectivity 4. Februar 2001
Von LazyJo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a contituation from her earlier publications, "Gender Trouble," "Bodies That Matter." Those who read these two texts would find this book extremely interesting. Butler seems to move her theorization of subjectivity from the materiality of the body (in previous texts) to the psychic realm of subjectivity. Please note that this is NOT a reflection of Cartesian dichotomy of mind/body. Rather, I understand her move as strategic choice, in order to deepen her analysis of power and its relation to psychic realm, before delving into the inextricable reality of psyche and body. Here Butler draws on the works of various philosophers, such as Hegel, Althusser,Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault and so on, to explicate the complex process through which power engenders a psychic form (see intro), and constitutes a self. As always, her eloquent rhetorical style and brilliant epistemological turns are amazing enough.
8 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Importunately Pedantic 1. Dezember 2010
Von Tristano Casazza - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Much of the praise for this book falls in line with the "cult of Butler" that has been wooed by impenetrable discourse. It makes them feel important for being "provocative." But being provocative, in Butler's case, also means disconnected from what is "really real." Butler defends her substandard writing by claiming that it "shakes up the status quo." The reality, however, is that she reenforces the status quo because her writings are annoyingly pedantic.

Chapter five, for instance, is interesting, but esoteric and functionless. Butler contends that melancholic identification is the primary mechanism of gender formation. Where Foucault and Althusser stop short of defining what constitutes the "turn" in assujetissement, Butler pushes forward, using Freud to inform Foucault to discover the psychic form power takes. Because the masculine/feminine binary is socially constructed, it must be deconstructed in order to uncover the multiplicity of ways one might experience gender.

Toward the end of the chapter, Butler attempts to apply her abstract theoretical wanderings to actual sociopolitical problems, namely identity politics. Beyond her assertion that interest groups must shed their reliance on the forms of power that subjugate them, there seems to be little of practical use. Given the lack of efficacy, I found it peculiar that she would even attempt to connect her work to actionable programs for change. Additionally, while Butler importunately maintains that her writing style has the power to shake up the status quo, the impenetrability of her prose might preclude any such chance.
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