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Gender Trouble: Tenth Anniversary Edition Paperback – 16 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (16 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415924995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415924993
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Indispensable for feminist theory.."-Hypatia "At times brilliant, always groundbreaking, "Gender Trouble is bound to make some trouble of its own."-Outweek "The most authoritative attack to date on the 'naturalness' of gender. This is a brilliant and innovative book."-Sandra Lee Bartky "A tremendously sophisticated and well-argued book, a very exciting read."-Women & Politics

About 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.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
For the most part, feminist theory has assumed that there is some existing identity, understood through the category of women, who not only initiates feminist interests and goals within discourse, but constitutes the subject for whom political representation is pursued. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a densely written but repeatedly rewarding study of the constructions of gender and sex as they relate to women, lesbians and gay men, and, to follow the logic of Butler's argument, all of us. This work shows not only the relativity of our cultural understanding of femininity but also the limits of our scientific understanding of female-ness. For feminists, Butler's book offers a much-needed examination of what exactly the female subject is and how woman is defined in (or by) our particular culture. Butler goes far beyond Foucault in examining sexuality as socially contructed and, in the process, offers valuable insights to (and critiques of) the writing and thinking of Beauvoir, Kristeva, Lacan, and Wittig. The book's one flaw is a turgid, sometimes redundant prose (i.e. phrases like "judical law" and "'he' [sic]") all too common in technical and philosophical writing, especially, alas, of the postmodernist variety. But once the reader survives the first quarter of the book, he [sic] will find Butler's observations not only accessible but fascinating and, for whatever it's worth, socially important.
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73 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. N. Windsor on 29 Jun. 2004
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This book is a powerful argument that overthrows essentialist discourse in favour of gender as a performative entity. Whilst a seminal work, and in my opinion, a very important viewpoint capable of pushing the feminist movement on by lightyears, I feel that Butler's writing style does not suit the message she puts forward. For someone who's aim is to spread a message to the masses, she writes in an overly academic style. Although I appreciate that she may have needed to do this so that bodies under the influence of a partriachy may take her more seriously, it leaves this book only accesible to the highest academics. I am currently referencing this book in an argument put forward in my thesis for my masters degree and i am having great trouble understanding the language she uses. This is a brilliant book, but I can't help but feel that her language could be made a lot simpler.
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By Sarah Griffiths on 26 July 2015
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This is an interesting read and really helped with my discussion on Gender.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ms. P. Stevens-Hoare on 12 Dec. 2011
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I read an excerpt from this and thought I'd find it useful and insightful. When it arrived I opened it up to find the text pretty impenetrable. I'll give it another go over the holidays when hopefully all will become clear...I know she writes on subjects that I really want to read about, so I'm hoping to find the way in.
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By John D. Calpin on 22 April 2015
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arived as promised and a classic read!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristy on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book. If you think you know all about gender theory, read this. The concept of performativity reflects greatly within contemporary society. This is actually my second copy of 'Gender Trouble', having misplaced my well-thumbed previous copy. I've long used Butler's theory and will continue to do so. The book is well-written, easy to follow and fully self-explanatory, without being completely riddled with pretentious academic jargon.
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Butler is readable, it is dense but worth plodding through and this book has definited the humanities and social science fields since the 1990s. there are some great clips if Butler on youtube, one in which she describes how this book came about and also reading Undoing Gender - a later book - she revises and reflects on this earlier book which is invaluable commentary and revision.
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35 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
If Occam's Razor were to be applied to Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" her attempt "to facilitate a political convergence of feminism, gay and lesbian perspectives on gender and post-structuralist theory" would die the death of a thousand cuts. Butler seeks to "denaturalise and resignify bodily categories" by proposing "a set of parodic practices based in a performative theory of gender acts that disrupt the categories of the body, sex, gender and sexuality and occasion their subversive resignification and proliferation beyond the binary frame." Butler's theory is dependant on her belief that sex and gender are social constructions and her assumption that the personal is political.

Although Butler recognises it is dangerous to base the universal on the particular she underestimates the weakness of interpreting individual actions as being performative in accordance with her own self fulfilling ideas. By her own admission her theory is based on family experience including her "own tempestuous coming out at the age of 16; and a subsequent adult landscape of lost jobs, lovers and homes". Taken in conjunction with her fourteen years as part of the east coast lesbian and gay social scene, Butler devised a theory to provide backing for her aim of "pursuing pleasure and insisting on a legitimising recognition for (her) sexual life." To achieve it Butler abuses language in order to hide truth. In seeking to "denaturalise" the "ideal morphologies of sex" and "assumptions about natural or presumptive heterosexuality", Butler creates an artificial language of gender within the dying embers of feminism and the ever broadening boundaries of queer theory. It's as if Hitler's Mien Kampf was written to serve as a foundational text for democracy.
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