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CHAPTER TWENTY. “Serious Innovation” A Conversation with Judith Butler

Jordana Rosenberg

Subject Culture » Cultural/Critical Theory

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405113298.2007.00021.x


The following interview aims to give readers a sense of Judith Butler's current work, political concerns, and both her latest and landmark interventions into the oeuvre of Continental philosophy. In these discussions, we continually return to the question of how queer studies - central questions of which have been shaped by Butler herself over the years - continues to inform and ground her inquiries. In considering such wide-ranging topics as political transformation, lived resistance to social norms, desire, alterity, and the intersection of psychoanalytic and philosophico- ethical paradigms, Butler reminds us that sexuality is at the root of her theorization of subject-formation and social existence. The disruption caused by “sexual lives that call into question the grids of intelligibility” is, for Butler, an enduring point of entry into ontological and ethical questions in general, an approach she designates as “distinctively queer.” Jordana Rosenberg: Prior to the publication of your two most recent volumes, Undoing Gender and Precarious Life , the concept of “psychic life” had emerged from your work as perhaps the most frequently cited theoretical keyword since “performativity.” If we had to isolate one concept that reverberates in your recent work, it might be transformation. In “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy,” you offer the following: “To intervene ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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