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Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990)

by Judith Butler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Thinking Gender (1990)

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3,121204,139 (3.84)16
One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past fifty years, Judith Butlerís Gender Trouble is as celebrated as it is controversial. Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.… (more)
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» See also 16 mentions

English (16)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Honestly, I hate postmodernist academic language. Its completely uneccessary, elitist, and designed to enrage and obfuscate. Its edgelord stuff for the educated. It covers up lack up knowledge or meaning with difficult language, meaning that most of us have to read and reread each sentence, trying to tease out meaning and understand what the writer is saying. If you don't understand it, you assume that you aren't clever enough. But there is no need to write like this, its just showing off. Very few concepts require impenetrable language, and the struggle with most of those concepts is making it accessible. Only a handful of humanities subjects aim for inaccessibility and they all have one thing in common - the requirement that the subject is not studied too closely. I spent two nights reading this book, got most of the way through chapter one, and then tossed it away. The problems are twofold. Firstly, content. Big claims require big evidence, and Butler makes lots of big claims but provides no evidence whatsoever (unless this is done later on). Whats more, the claims are made in a way that enables the author to deny that they are claims, rather they could be rhetorical statements, philosopher's questions. But claims they are, and there were three main claims I disagreed with: that gender is completely disconnected from biological sex and always has been; that feminist philosophy is actually anti-feminist because it doesn't realise this and in fact is evil and stupid because by insisting that gender is a cultural construction applied to people perceived to be of one or other sex it actually creates an oppressive gender role for women; and that there is actually no such thing as biological sex. The third of these is particularly interesting because I had a conversation with a friend a while back where I said that those of our comrades who kept saying things like biological sex isn't real were a great recruiting ground for the far right, and was told that no-one said biological sex wasn't real and that this was a terf meme that told lies about us. But here we are. So, because of the second bit problem with this book, I tossed it aside. The second big problem is that it is unreadably difficult unless you're a big brain. If it had been easier to read I would have carried on reading it to learn if any of these claims are taken back, amended, or evidence provided. Perhaps anyone reading this review could let me know if they care enough. Life is too short to read difficult nonsense. Perhaps I need a beginner's guide! ( )
  elahrairah | Sep 1, 2022 |
In my teenage years, I reared myself on a vulgarised sort of Butlerian philosophy (through the mediums of Tumblr, the DFTBA-sphere, and /b/ "trap threads"), specifically the untwining of sex, gender, behavior, and sexuality. It's nice to come full circle in a way.
By the table of contents, I was expecting a sort of rote laundry list of french writers, but a few things allow me to love this more than if it were just a glorified bibliography. For one, Butler's powers of synthesis are very much to be respected, allowing her to weave a very nice abstraft narrative through various theories of gender. She also has a great sense of purple theorizing, and it's easy to get caught up in her strings of words. Last, I feel a fondness for the experience described and suggested in this book, having lived through a lot of it in some way or other. ( )
  schumacherrr | Feb 21, 2022 |
...what?

The only reason this gets two stars instead of one is that, from what I've gathered, the premise of this book is interesting and I appreciate how she destabilizes gender/sex identities. But I only know that because of reading about it online. Nothing in the book is coherent or readable enough for me to gather what the author is arguing.

And I'm not totally new to reading theory. I can usually re-read or take notes and generally figure out what's being said. Not here. ( )
  100sheets | Jun 7, 2021 |
El g√©nero en disputa, obra fundadora de la llamada teor√≠a queer y a la vez emblem√°tica de los estudios de g√©nero C√≥mo se conocen hoy en d√≠a, es un volumen indispensable para comprender la teor√≠a feminista actual: constituye una l√ļcida cr√≠tica la idea esencialista dej√© las identidades de g√©nero son inmutables encuentran su arraigo en la naturaleza, en el cuerpo o en una heterosexualidad normativa y obligatoria. Libro interdisciplinario que se inscribe simult√°neamente en la filosof√≠a, la antropolog√≠a, la teor√≠a literaria y el psicoan√°lisis, este texto es deudor de un prolongado acercamiento del autor al feminismo te√≥rico, a los debates sobre el car√°cter socialmente construido del g√©nero, al psicoan√°lisis, a los estudios Pioneros sobre el travestismo, y tambi√©n a su activa participaci√≥n en movimientos Defensores de la diversidad sexual. as√≠, con un pie en la academia y otro en la militancia, apoyada de la lectura de autores como Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Simone de beauvoir, Claude Levi-Strauss, Luce Irigaray, Julia kristeva, Monique Wittiig, y Michael Foucault, Butler ofrece aqu√≠ una teor√≠a original, pol√©mica y desde luego subversiva, responsable ella misma de m√°s de una disputa.
  ckepfer | Dec 27, 2020 |
her dunk on Lacan is very chill
  theodoram | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Judith Butlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
ńÄbola, DitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hames, Charles B.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicholson, CatherineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicholson, Linda J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quintas, NunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past fifty years, Judith Butlerís Gender Trouble is as celebrated as it is controversial. Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.

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