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Butler and Ethics$
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Moya Lloyd

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678846

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678846.001.0001

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Sensate Democracy and Grievable Life

Sensate Democracy and Grievable Life

(p.118) 5 Sensate Democracy and Grievable Life
Butler and Ethics

Fiona Jenkins

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues for a political reading of Judith Butler’s work on ‘ungrievable life’ over against readings that ascribe to Butler a ‘universal humanist ethics of lamentation’, one that offers a false resolution of political conflict. By embedding claims that life be marked in practices of contestation which lay claim to equality, Butler’s characterisation of ‘sensate democracy’ is linked to the challenge of overcoming ethical violence. This requires calling seemingly universal precepts into question. The problem of releasing potentiality is at stake in the performativity of political challenges to the given status of normative forms of life. Practices of pluralisation and of critique thus have both an ethical and a political valance, opening the question of the subject’s relation with moral law and demanding a work of self- and social-transformation.

Keywords:   Pluralisation, Grievable Life, Performativity, Critique, Judith Butler

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