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Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) Paperback – May 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0415389556 ISBN-10: 0415389550 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In a new introduction to the 10th-anniversary edition of Gender Trouble--among the two or three most influential books (and by far the most popular) in the field of gender studies--Judith Butler explains the complicated critical response to her groundbreaking arguments and the ways her ideas have evolved as a result. Nevertheless, she has resisted the urge to revise what has become a feminist classic (as well as an elegant defense of drag, given Butler's emphasis on the performative nature of gender). The book was produced, according to Butler, "as part of the cultural life of a collective struggle that has had, and will continue to have, some success in increasing the possibilities for a livable life for those who live, or try to live, on the sexual margins." An attack on the essentialism of French feminist theory and its basis in structuralist anthropology, Gender Trouble expands to address the cultural prejudices at play in genetic studies of sex determination, as well as the uses of gender parody, and also provides a critical genealogy of the naturalization of sex. A primer in gender studies--and sexy reading for college cafés. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Rereading this book, as well as reading it for the first time, reshapes the categories through which we experience and perform our lives and bodies. To be troubled in this way is an intellectual pleasure and a political necessity.' - Donna Haraway

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415389550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415389556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 94 people found the following review helpful By tamiii on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm no expert but I'm reminded of what a friend once confessed to me: it's hard talking about gender without it turning into a freak show. To her credit, Judith Butler speaks sincerely, with great subtlety, about a very touchy subject. Nevertheless, when you consider that words like "sex," "heterosexual," and "homosexual" are hardly a century old, you have to ask why do they seem so certain, so meaningful, so permanent and timeless? Why is it so hard to consider these words as concealing rather than revealing? In the tradition of Marx and Foucault, Butler begins to demystify their credibility and reveals how gender is something which is 'performative'. By this, she does not mean like a role which is donned (though those who don reveal) but rather as a repetitive, cultural activity from which identity is derived. This work is thought to be the beginning of 'queer theory.'
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120 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Dr. PJ on October 20, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Of course Butler's books on gender are breathtaking classics and receive 5 stars from me in their print editions. I assign them all the time in my Gender Studies class. But this Kindle edition is messy. This is the problem I keep finding with the Kindle editions. It's insulting of Amazon to assume that Kindle readers don't care about clean editing and formatting. As a PhD student in Literature I am looking for a better tool for amassing my huge reading list. Students in every field would be ecstatic with a Kindle that actually served our needs. I also think Kindle is underestimating the common reader who also appreciates careful editting and presentation. We need to know more information about the Kindle editions--i.e. who edits and Introduces the volumes and whether they are exact replicas of their print editions. We also need to be able to cite actual page numbers from known editions for quotes, essays, papers and dissertations. I hope Kindle fixes this in the next generation. At the moment I'm making due with the messiness because of the convenience of carrying 300 volumes in one light device. But I'd be out shouting Kindle's praises in the streets (and to the classrooms full of college undergrads I teach) if Kindle would just pay attention to these few details. The search tool can be so helpful as to be heavenly. The dictionary tool should be expanded to include philosophical and theoretical terms also! Come on Kindle!
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Though I agree with what others have written of Butler's prose, I think her approach to the ubiquitous "nature versus nurture" question of gender is an important one (politically, socially, culturally, psychologically...) At times her rhetoric is questionable & her ideas somewhat biased (to the point of bordering on... well, less than practical). However, that should not, by any means, dissuade anyone from reading her work. Despite the difficulties it might present, "Gender Trouble" is challenging, thoughtful and thought-provoking-- an enlightening experience for anyone willing to put forth some effort.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By T. Youker on March 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Readers who are willing to tolerate labyrinthine sentences and brain-cramping scholarly vocabulary and who already have a working understanding of Freud, Lacan, Foucault, and deconstruction will find in Butler a challenging, highly stimulating theorist of sex, gender, and sexuality.

Readers looking for a breezy and accessible discussion of gender roles in modern society should definitely look elsewhere.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Artemesia on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Most of the existing reviews give a good idea of how this book has come across to Amazon readers. I decided to create a review because I had a couple of points to add. The first is a reiteration - Butler's prose is, in places, exceedingly difficult to read without a lot of former practice in reading feminism, philosophy, linguistics, and literary criticism. This is the main reason for loss of one star. She makes such wonderful deconstructive arguments showing how categories of not only gender but sex itself are constructed. Having said that, even if you only pick up about 50% of the meaning, the rephrasing and recouching of multiple ideas from different standpoints conveys the basic ideas the author wishes to convey. The second point is that one may be left wanting more. As Butler says in her updated preface (1999 - the original was 1990) - if she were writing this book today she would also include a discussion of transgender and intersexuality and surgical intervention. I believe such a discussion would bring a valuable contribution to feminism, as feminism brings so much to any consideration of transgender and intersex issues.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GrinMax on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an academic text, make no buts about it, despite what she says in her intro that she feels it's accessible to everyone. Butler has also won awards for bad academic prose, so be careful--the thing is dense and wordy beyond belief and she references every major thinker of the past hundred or so years, so if you haven't read the entire works of Foucault, Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, and others, you might feel a little lost. The first 3/4ths of the book is basically responding to and debunking everything everyone else has said or tried to establish about gender. But it's still really good, and her final major thesis, the idea of performativity, is amazing; I might even venture to say life changing. So if you just want the cliff's notes, read the intro, the last chapter (even just the last section of the last chapter), and the conclusion, and you'll get the gist of it (and an idea how tough she can be to read) without having to slog through the whole thing. If you want to tackle the whole thing, be my guest, but I'd only recommend doing so if you really plan on using her for a specific purpose (like me, writing a term paper using her theory).
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