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Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence Hardcover – 21 Apr 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (21 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670055
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,687,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Indispensable for feminist theory" Hypatia, on Gender Trouble (1989); "Butler has written a most significant and provocative work that addresses issues of immediate social concern." The Boston Book Review, on Bodies that Matter (1993)"

About the Author

Judith Butler is Professor of Rhetoric & Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of many books including Antigone's Claim, The Psychic Life of Power, Excitable Speech, and Gender Trouble.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent text on a dictum of the value of human life and humanity that we take for granted - as lay persons and social scientists. Not everybody's life is 'grievable', not everybody's experience and memory is worth understanding or remembering.There is so much pretense about humanism in social science, so little self-reflection.
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By S on 8 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback
This was recommended to me in another book that I read. I would go so far as to say it is probably the most important book I have read this year. It is totally sublime, and to those unsure and anxious about reading Butler (a feeling I'm familiar with) this is probably her most accessible book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9611f768) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x952f0300) out of 5 stars Brilliant, Moving, an Important Book of Our Day 23 Dec. 2009
By Amy E. Story - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of Butler's most accessible books, this is a phenomenally interesting and beautifully written investigation into human vulnerability and loss. Butler uses the political circumstances of the historical moment in which the book was written--just post 9/11, detainment of insurgents in Guantanamo Bay, and the crisis in the Middle East--to uncover the nature of human interdependency and to theorize what a political practice that takes such interdependency and vulnerability to others seriously might look like. While her examples might become slightly dated over time, her Levinasian analysis of the meaning of being human and of the kind of political and moral work needed to achieve true global peace will stand despite the passage of time. One note of criticism--some chapters are long and can get a little tedious after the first half of the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95f8e8e8) out of 5 stars Loved it 30 Sept. 2014
By Venus Project - Published on
Format: Paperback
Great read that shows the hypocrisy in how people value human life. Should make people challenge their notions about war and intervening around the world.
HASH(0x957a4618) out of 5 stars A book that transcends its academic origins 31 Dec. 2014
By nycprof - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This may be Butler's most accessible book. I would recommend it to generalist readers interested in contemporary political philosophy.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x957a46fc) out of 5 stars I had to read this for a college course, ... 14 Nov. 2014
By misslynn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read this for a college course, and I decided to keep it after I finished that project.
16 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x957a4738) out of 5 stars Provocative book 19 Jan. 2007
By J. Aragon - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read this book yesterday and just ate it up. It's not the usual esoteric examination by Butler. (Not that anything is wrong with that and I've read her other work, as well).

That said, the book is written for a lay audience and I think that this book needed to be published, since the responses of feminists to or after Sept 11th have been far and few. (Aftershock is a great book to read about Sept 11th from a feminist point of view).

I can't pinpoint what my favourite section of the book was, however, I enjoyed it all. It was refreshing to see a political theorist write about something "real" that is taking place today that many are discussing or living through.

This is a wonderful addition to her writing repertoire. I do hope to see her write more for a lay audience, since hopefully they will get their curiosity piqued and read more Butler.
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