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Giving an Account of Oneself Paperback – October 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0823225040 ISBN-10: 0823225046 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"In stunningly original interpretations of Adorno and Levinas, . . .Judith Butler compellingly demonstrates that questions of ethicscannot avoid addressing the moral self's complicity with violence.By laying out the premises of a creative rereading, this studyproves that the discussion of these two authors and their futurelegacy has, in a sense, barely begun. Butler writes in a trulySpinozistic spirit, mobilizing the greatest forces and joys ofphilosophical intelligence to counteract and redirect the cruelestand most destructive of human passions. Brilliantly argued andbeautifully written, Giving an Account of Oneself is destinedto become a classic, a must read for philosophers and students ofpresent-day culture and politics alike."--Hent de Vries,The Johns Hopkins University


"A brave book by a courageous thinker."--Hayden White, University of California and Stanford University


"In a time when moral certitude is used to justify the worst violence, Butler's nuanced reworking of what it means to be ethically responsible to ourselves and to others is welcome indeed."--Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers University


"A powerful exploration of the intersection of identity and responsibility, Giving an Account of Oneself shows us Judith Butler at her best, in dialogue with some of the other foremost thinkers of our age: Adorno, Foucault, Levinas, and Laplanche. Confronting the problem of identities that emerge only in relation to social and moral norms they may seek to contest, she proposes a rethinking of responsibility in relation to the limits of self-understanding that make us human."--Jonathan Culler, Cornell University


About the Author


Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. The most recent of her books are Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (Verso, 2004) and Undoing Gender (Routledge, 2004).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823225046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823225040
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.5 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By StreetlightReader on March 16, 2015
Format: Paperback
At the heart of Judith Butler’s complex and pathbreaking reflections on gender has always been a concern with simply making the world a better place. A place at once more hospitable and more challenging than it has been, less exclusionary and less indifferent than it is. A concern, in other words, with ethics. In Giving an Account of Oneself, Butler opens the question of the very possibility of ethics; what kind of subject could be an ethical subject? What are the sorts of conditions by which we can act ethically in the world? In what manner can one be held to be accountable, and to give an account of oneself?

Against conceptions of subjectivity which hold that only subjects in full control of their wills and destinies can be responsible - and hence ethical - Butler argues, following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean Laplanche, that responsibility flows only from the implication of the self in an order that rather dispossess the self of mastery; that our entwinement with forces and powers not (entirely) of our own making is in fact the very condition of our being responsible.

Liberal ears will no doubt bleed at the very idea, but Butler’s arguments are both immaculately conceived and powerfully conveyed. Central to Butler’s project is the concern with the very ‘appropriability’ of ethics to living beings. How can we, as human beings, cultivate a living relation to the ethical ideals we hold so dear? What sorts of violence follows when we fail to attend to the social conditions which enable and constitute ethical relations in the first place?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Butler is a great philosopher. Her writing is clear and pedagogical, regardless of what they say. And her ethical outlook is the kind of outlook that we need today.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angela Covalt on August 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The chapters in this work are more-or-less discrete essays on a range of topics, all well-considered and cogent. I am particularly enamored of her chapter on governmentality and the resurrection of sovereignty.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joel on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a good read. It is a very challenging read, but it is also extremely relevant and rewarding. I highly recommend this book.
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16 of 74 people found the following review helpful By QuixoticOther on May 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is terrific! I recomend it to anyone familiar with Butler's work (though it is very distinct from much of her older work) or for anyone who thinks it looks even the slightest bit interesting. Even if you disagree with Butler, the book won't disappoint!
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