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The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory (New Directions in Critical Theory) Hardcover – November 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0231136228 ISBN-10: 0231136226 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions in Critical Theory
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (November 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231136226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231136228
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,689,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Scholars will find this book an interesting read.

(Kristina Grob Feminist Review Blog)

Persuasive and well-reasoned

(J. Jeremy Wisnewski Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

This admirable book provides incredibly clear and lucid readings of texts that students find notoriously difficult... Highly recommended.


Nuanced and careful readings of Foucault, Butler, Habermas and Benhabib.

(Margaret A. McLaren Foucault Studies)

A pathbreaking and elegantly argued book.

(Jana Sawicki PhiloSOPHIA 2012-01-00)

"[A] tour de force.... The Politics of Our Selves forces its reader to think hard, and honestly to think through the implications of the glib stand-off between Foucault and Habermas that stands in for a much more meaningful dialogue that we rarely get to have.

(Cressida Heyes Philosophy and Social Criticism)

A remarkably comprehensive and very impressive treatment of many of the most vexing issues in contemporary critical theory.

(Moira Gatens European Journal of Philosophy)


Can one theorize subjectivity in a way that allows both for the penetrating grip of power and for the self's critical, transformative capacities? So many critical theorists have tried and failed to square this circle that one might despair of the possibility. But Amy Allen's magnificent study gives one new hope. The work of a mature, confident thinker, The Politics of Ourselves combines original readings of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, and Seyla Benhabib with a constructive account that goes further than any of them in clarifying the autonomy/subjection riddle.

(Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, New School for Social Research)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Juniper on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amy Allen's pursuit of this subject is timely and thought provoking. The politics of ourselves is a subject that has been on my mind since the radical feminism of the 1970's; radicalism that lacked intellectual pursuit. Mere cultural awareness is insufficient for the right means towards change. Reason gathered of intellect and experience is the way to sensible and acceptable evolution. I truly appreciate Amy Allen's philosophical critique.
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