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Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

36. Judith Butler  

Clare Woodford

This chapter looks at the work of Judith Butler on feminism and queer theory. It presents their theory on performativity and parody, and explores the theoretical underpinning of Butler’s theory of subjectivity. Butler’s theorization of gender originated from a broader concern about which lives matter, whose lives get to count as human and whose lives are constrained and subjected to unbearable violence. The chapter highlights the continuing significance and relevance of Butler’s political thought in today’s society as Butler became a vocal critic of Western-centrism, US nationalism, and Zionism. Additionally, the chapter explains how Butler developed non-violent, anti-war politics which emphasized the need for people to live differently instead of within neoliberal rationality and individualism.