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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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Subjectivation, the Social and a (Missing) Account of the Social Formation

Subjectivation, the Social and a (Missing) Account of the Social Formation

Judith Butler’s ‘Turn’

(p.193) 8 Subjectivation, the Social and a (Missing) Account of the Social Formation
Butler and Ethics

Samuel A. Chambers

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter engages closely with Butler’s self-named “theory of subjection.” It demonstrates that by reading Althusser through Hegel, Butler strips away Althusser’s rich understanding of the social order as uneven and overdetermined. Butler’s narrow focus on desire and a philosophical “theory of subject” gives her no way to grasp or make sense of the social formation that provides the historical conditions of possibility for all subjects. Butler’s ontology of vulnerability and finitude serves the purpose of standing in for a more rigorous account of the social formation, and this substitution proves to be a poor one, since it reduces Butler’s work to the terms of liberal political philosophy.

Keywords:   Subjectivation, Social Formation, Althusser, Hegel, The Social, Interpellation, Subjection, Liberalism

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