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Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (PCVS-Polity Conversations Series) Paperback – 22 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (22 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745653812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745653815
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Full of fantastic and well–argued insights."
LSE Review of Books

"What makes political responsiveness possible? With their rich and distinct wealth of philosophical knowledge and continuous political engagements, leading feminist scholars Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou set out to answer this question. Beginning from an awareness that we are all relational and interdependent beings, their lucid, compelling exchanges encourage us all to reflect again on what feminist and queer theory can contribute to the search for forms of collectivity capable of intervening in battles against these cruel and precarious times."
Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London and author of Making Trouble

"In a series of bite–sized conversations, Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou explore the concept of dispossession and show its links to subjectivity, relationality, occupation, precarity, bio–politics and collective protest. As they push each other for clarification and introduce a range of examples, they jointly craft a new vision of what ′performative politics′ might entail."
Vikki Bell, Goldsmiths, University of London

About the Author

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous publications include Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex". She is currently the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities.

Athena Athanasiou teaches in the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By @iGlinavos VINE VOICE on 13 July 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have often complained that the failure of the European Left to present a credible challenge to neoliberal orthodoxy as expressed through austerity (amongst other things) is partly explained by the self-obsessed, irrelevant, faux-intelligentia navel gasing of a great deal of left academics. I ordered this title in the hope that it would address things in an understandable, sensible way, despite the fact that the words Foucault, queer theory and feminism were dead givaways of what was to follow.

I have no problem with queer-theory and feminism. In fact they offer great methodological insights that can be used along side traditional marxist methodologies in deconstructing structures of power and domination. Nonetheless, the work of the academic (so far as I undertand it) is to enlighten, to explain and mobilise.

How mobilised do you feel after reading the following?

"disposession signifies an inaugural submission of the subject-to-be to norms of intelligibility"

and

"does such collective action and affective alliance inadvertedly create its own fixed assumptions of placedness and belonging?"

The book is not helped by the writing style of one author following the other to congratulate them and agree with their points. If you read this stuff and think, yes, makes sense, I feel more engaged with political realities, well done, you are ready to submit your PhD at an institution which promotes 'critical thinking'. If you are one of the disposessed however, what have you learned?

What one learns from this book is that leftist academia resides in its own linguistic and methodological alternate reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By El Loro on 25 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although stimulating, this is ultimately another testament to the failure of the post 1989 left.

It is particularly relevant in this age of diasporas and ever more blatant appropriation of public space but where we used to organise and protest, today's left is content to talk to itself in an intellectual bunker.

The class war is over. We lost. Where is the resistance?
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you were to conduct a fast show critique of academia then you would start and end with this book. The prose is dense to the point of parody. Two women are talking about dispossession, capitalism, the body and trying to reconfigure a new identity whilst being entrapped with the social pressures of the past and present. How do you make a sustainable future when you are conditioned by the same forces?

Yet the language they use, and this has nothing to do with Foucault, could be straight out of a 13th Century Latin Mass being broadcast to a bunch of German speaking peasants who are dazzled by their own lack and an attribution to the master of some divine power and insight due to the compound Latin twists added to the language.

Whilst the two women are nattering in their respective academic speak, they fail to get to grips with some of the very basic and readable insights previously proffered by Raoul Vanegeim, Lefebvre and Erich Fromm. They are completely adrift from the insights of Alfred Adler about the self and others. The prose appears a piece of camouflage for them to detail something profound but has been said much clearer and with more depth by numerous others.

Meanwhile the academic Ponzi scheme has several adherents who clap their hands to this type of offering as seal being thrown a fish at a circus. The audience only sees the external performance and not the beatings administered to get the stimulus response result.

If you are paying 9k per annum and you get this tripe thrown at you, start complaining, seriously I have taught across the various syllabi at many of these esteemed unis and there is no way this should be anywhere near a book list - it is utter drivel
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laura T TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has a number of things going for it. The central subject - dispossession - is well worth exploring. Many of the discussions highlight the complexity of the matters dealt with (the first two chapters especially). There was a pleasing unwillingness to opt for easy answers, but rather to highlight what it is important to think about. The discussion format, sometimes at least, helps to clarify the ideas of both contributors; although, for my part, I found Judith Butler's attempts to clarify and elaborate on Athena Athanasiou's comments much more illuminating than vice versa. The book seemed to me to be a book of tangents, some of them stimulating (the discussion of recognition in the seventh chapter, for instance). However, there is a lot to distract the reader from this book's virtues. Among the interesting gems there are a lot of, it seemed to me, not especially interesting detours from the key topics. What made wading through this material harder was the style in which it is delivered. Unless a lot went over my head, many relatively straightforward points are considerably overcomplicated. This was a much more difficult read than it needed to be.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment, however, was that while a lot of the ideas raised were important and interesting, many are extremely familiar. There is not a great deal of expansion on what has been thought and written elsewhere. This left me wondering who exactly this book is for. For the aforementioned reason, I don't think it will be of much use for those who already share the political convictions of Butler and Athanasiou (beyond reinforcing ideas already held). I certainly don't see any critics of their approach (neo-liberals etc.) being swayed by it; that clearly isn't Butler and Athanasiou's intention.
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