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Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter (1990)

von Judith Butler

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2,650184,168 (3.84)16
Since its publication in 1990, Gender Troublehas become one of the key works of contemporary feminist theory, and an essential work for anyone interested in the study of gender, queer theory, or the politics of sexuality in culture.
  1. 01
    Das unbeschriebene Blatt: Die moderne Leugnung der menschlichen Natur von Steven Pinker (PlaidStallion)
    PlaidStallion: She has been praised for giving new insights on several areas of study, particularly heterosexism, through her research. But Pinker says:

      Once again, postmodernism took this extreme to an even greater extreme in which the theory upstaged the subject matter and became a genre of performance art in itself. Postmodernist scholars, taking off from the critical theorists Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault, distrust the demand for “linguistic transparency” because it hobbles the ability “to think the world more radically” and puts a text in danger of being turned into a mass-market commodity. This attitude has made them regular winners of the annual Bad Writing Contest, which “celebrates the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles.” In 1998, first prize went to the lauded professor of rhetoric at Berkeley, Judith Butler, for the following sentence:

        The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

      Dutton, whose journal Philosophy and Literature sponsors the contest, assures us that this is not a satire. The rules of the contest forbid it: “Deliberate parody cannot be allowed in a field where unintended self-parody is so widespread.”

      A final blind spot to human nature is the failure of contemporary artists and theorists to deconstruct their own moral pretensions. Artists and critics have long believed that an appreciation of elite art is ennobling and have spoken of cultural philistines in tones ordinarily reserved for child molesters (as we see in the two meanings of the word barbarian). The affectation of social reform that surrounds modernism and postmodernism is part of this tradition.

      Though moral sophistication requires an appreciation of history and cultural diversity, there is no reason to think that the elite arts are a particularly good way to instill it compared with middlebrow realistic fiction or traditional education. The plain fact is that there are no obvious moral consequences to how people entertain themselves in their leisure time. The conviction that artists and connoisseurs are morally advanced is a cognitive illusion, arising from the fact that our circuitry for morality is cross-wired with our circuitry for status (see Chapter 15). As the critic George Steiner has pointed out, “We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day’s work at Auschwitz in the morning.” Conversely there must be many unlettered people who give blood, risk their lives as volunteer firefighters, or adopt handicapped children, but whose opinion of modern art is “My four-year-old daughter could have done that.”

      The moral and political track record of modernist artists is nothing to be proud of. Some were despicable in the conduct of their personal lives, and many embraced fascism or Stalinism. The modernist composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as “the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos” and added, enviously, that “artists, too, sometimes go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world.” Nor is the theory of postmodernism especially progressive. A denial of objective reality is no friend to moral progress, because it prevents one from saying, for example, that slavery or the Holocaust really took place. And as Adam Gopnik has pointed out, the political messages of most postmodernist pieces are utterly banal, like “racism is bad.” But they are stated so obliquely that viewers are made to feel morally superior for being able to figure them out.

      As for sneering at the bourgeoisie, it is a sophomoric grab at status with no claim to moral or political virtue. The fact is that the values of the middle class—personal responsibility, devotion to family and neighborhood, avoidance of macho violence, respect for liberal democracy—are good things, not bad things. Most of the world wants to join the bourgeoisie, and most artists are members in good standing who adopted a few bohemian affectations. Given the history of the twentieth century, the reluctance of the bourgeoisie to join mass utopian uprisings can hardly be held against them. And if they want to hang a painting of a red barn or a weeping clown above their couch, it’s none of our damn business.

      The dominant theories of elite art and criticism in the twentieth century grew out of a militant denial of human nature. One legacy is ugly, baffling, and insulting art. The other is pretentious and unintelligible scholarship. And they’re surprised that people are staying away in droves?
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Englisch (15)  Spanisch (2)  Deutsch (1)  Alle Sprachen (18)
Radical feminist Butler investigates the theoretical roots of an ontology of gender identity to show their political parameters. She questions traditional and feminist sex/gender distinctions, arguing that the basic concepts in this discourse are themselves produced by relations of power. The result is a subversive and sometimes original work drawing on Foucault, Lacan, Sartre, etc.
  femref | Mar 11, 2010 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (30 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Judith ButlerHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Ābola, DitaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Quintas, NunoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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For the most part, feminist theory has assumed that there is some existing identity, understood through the category of women, who not only initiates feminist interests and goals within discourse, but constitutes the subject for whom political representation is pursued.
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Since its publication in 1990, Gender Troublehas become one of the key works of contemporary feminist theory, and an essential work for anyone interested in the study of gender, queer theory, or the politics of sexuality in culture.

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Durchschnitt: (3.84)
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2 16
2.5 2
3 44
3.5 8
4 78
4.5 4
5 64

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