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Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? Hardcover – May 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673339
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The dehumanizing rhetoric of war, especially the Iraq War, is examined but not illuminated in this turgid study. Berkeley literature professor Butler (Gender Trouble) asks why the lives of Muslims and Iraqis are treated by the U.S. government and media as less important—less grievable—than those of Americans, and develops an obscure theory of the precariousness of life as a rationale for opposing this bias, and state violence in general. She applies murky linguistic and aesthetic analyses to a hodgepodge of topics, including the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs, and claims that Islamic sexual puritanism poses a threat to gays and lesbians, a notion she contests at length. Butler's famously impenetrable, jargon-clotted style conveys no fresh thinking. The state works on the field of perception and, more generally, the field of representability, in order to control affect—in anticipation of the way affect is not only structured by interpretation, but structures interpretation as well, reads her laborious statement of the commonplace observation that the government tries to suppress upsetting photos that might provoke opposition to the war. The sludginess of Butler's prose and the banality of her ideas make the book virtually unreadable. (June)
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Review

“Judith Butler is the most creative and courageous social theorist writing today. Frames of War is an intellectual masterpiece that weds a new understanding of being, immersed in history, to a novel Left politics that focuses on State violence, war and resistance.”—Cornel West

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Buchanan on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is not Butler's best book. It is,however, one of the more interesting books she's written. But theoretically it is kind of weak. She argues that we have a responsibility not to life as such (because people dying is a part of life); but rather our responsibility is to sustain the conditions which allow life to flourish. The problem is she doesn't define 'flourish', so all her talk about philosophy informing social policy is hollow. The other problem is she doesn't connect the dots: if our responsibility is to sustain the conditions which allow life to flourish, and we acknowledge that present conditions don't do that, then don't we also have a responsibility to change our conditions? She shies away from this issue. The other problem is her notion of 'frames' -- this is conceptually retrograde. D&G's concept of abstract machine + assemblage is a much more efficient concept.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S Zaidi on December 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
"If the violent act is, among other things, a way of relocating the capacity to be violated (always) elsewhere, it produces the appearance that the subject who enacts violence is impermeable to violence. The accomplishment of this appearance becomes one aim of violence; one locates injurability with the other by injuring the other and then taking the sign of injury as the truth of the other."
It was difficult to crack the code of a statement like this and the work is full of such intellectualist concatenations.One is reminded that it was not for nothing that Berkeley's celebrated rhetorician was awarded the prize honoring her proclivity to abstruse writing albeit her incandescence does speak through punctuative interstices a couple of times in each chapter, re-authorizing the impalement of a myasthenically obtuse syntax transpiring upon a neo-Hegelian consciousness. This writerly violence exploits the reader's hermeneutic injurability and permanently coagulates the possibility of transference of sense.
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13 of 25 people found the following review helpful By critical on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Butler continues her profound reflections in Precarious Life, offering insightful analyses of torture, photography, and the probem of mourning in the context of war. It is not just about media analysis of war, but about the question of recognition, survival, destructiveness, and non-violence
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By catherine alturk on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Came in totally new condition. Brand new no scratches or marks. Everything that they said the book would be. Will buy again from them.
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More About the Author

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Psychic Life of Power, Excitable Speech, Bodies that Matter, Gender Trouble, Frames of War, and with Slavoj Zizek and Ernesto Laclau, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality.






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