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Undoing Gender

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,762 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Undoing Gender constitutes Judith Butler's recent reflections on gender and sexuality, focusing on new kinship, psychoanalysis and the incest taboo, transgender, intersex, diagnostic categories, social violence, and the tasks of social transformation. In terms that draw from feminist and queer theory, Butler considers the norms that governand fail to governgender and sexua ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 19th 2004 by Routledge (first published 2004)
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Es el libro más accesible de Butler. Continúa donde El género en disputa: El feminismo y la subversión de la identidad lo dejó, hablando de la regulación de género y la forma en que afecta a las personas.

Arranca con la premisa de que el género es performativo, por lo tanto, no existen roles de género inherentes a la naturaleza humana. En otras palabras, la identidad sexual y la expresión de género son el resultado de una construcción social y cultural. Es una discusión bastante provocativa de l
Nov 19, 2009 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humans who feel.
Recommended to Matthew by: Kathy Brown
Shelves: real-worldy
Anyone who has read Judy Butler has had to contend with philosophical mind-benders of astonishing brilliance and tortured diction, such as: "What happens to the subject and to the stability of gender categories when the epistemic regime of presumptive heterosexuality is unmasked as that which produces and reifies these ostensible categories of ontology?" Which makes it all the more surprising to run into the same brilliance, the same incisiveness, but this time with a kind of heartrending poetry ...more
Kate Hunc
Feb 24, 2009 Kate Hunc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her discussion of what it means to be "human" and socially intelligible made me cry.

Specifically: "To be called a copy, to be called unreal, is thus one way in which one can be oppressed. But consider that it is more fundamental than that. For to be oppressed means that you already exist as a subject of some kind... But to be unreal is something else again. For to be oppressed one must first become intelligible. To find that one is fundamentally unintelligible is to find that one has not yet ach
Before I read Judith Butler, I would have identified myself as a woman. But she says I'm wrong. At the most basic level I'm not a woman.
Butler sees gender as performance. Butler says anatomy has cultural framing. It is Performance, not an essence. Gender is performed without ones being conscious of it.
"Terms that make up ones own gender are outside oneself, beyond oneself in a sociality that has no author." Anatomy and sex have cultural framing. They are not natural, not essential, not pre-cul
Feb 09, 2010 Aja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading philosophy
Recommended to Aja by: Sexual Health Course
This is another philosophy book on the same lines of the Michel Foucault we just read for class as well. And once again, what she is saying is very important but most of what is said is unattainable by the average reader. After discussing the concepts in class I would have given this book five stars, but I think that if someone picked up this book without that avenue for discussion much of the main concepts and theories would be lost.

I think that most of the book was not to get the reader to sub
Ralowe Ampu
i finally did it. i read a judith butler book. i know it was at a slower pace considering its just around 200 pages, but it's not because the book was excessively obtuse. i was struck by how accessible this book is. this might be the one book that she has written like this. it was almost a little bit too accessible. judith butler turns her eye to a number of common run-in's with the state or similarly consequential authority: she takes looks at gender essentialism vs. gender self determination, ...more
Jul 21, 2013 Nasim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
some sloppy opinions.

Butler asks a lot of questions, but barely ever appears too doubtful. Most of the time she isn't interested in providing her answers and opinions - which is what I read other people for. Questions aren't that hard to find alone. A book should provide clearly stated opinions, attempts at answers, rather than end every chapter with more extra issues than before. I can't help thinking she doesn't always want the reader to answer her questions and uses them for the sake of rheto
Hannah Givens
Jun 12, 2016 Hannah Givens rated it did not like it
This one-star rating is probably unfair. Butler certainly made statements I agreed with, and is a widely respected feminist scholar who seems to be very important intellectually. But this book was a flaming heap as far as I'm concerned. In no essay did I ever figure out what she was actually trying to say, because she just rambles all over the place saying random things (using the biggest words possible) and never seems to have a point at all. The assertions I did understand seem actively unhelp ...more
Barney Trotwell
I do not understand this book. It feels like the ratio of verbosity to content approaches unfathomable heights. I'm used to being told that I should express myself more simply and I usually respond that there's a reason for my choice of complexity of expression. Here, I find myself on the other side of that fence.

I imagine that a large part of my inability to comprehend comes from my complete ignorance of a large part of the terminology and the concepts that Butler builds upon. However, perhaps
I'd heard this was the "accessible" Butler text, which is sorta true, but just remember--it's still Butler. I think perhaps the reason many people find this to be a more engaging text is that Butler's concerns, though densely theoretical, have more immediate 'real life' applications than, say, in Gender Trouble or Bodies that Matter. It seems Butler's become increasingly interested in what it might mean to be an ethical, incoherent/post-modern (ha) subject, and as such, her interests in regulato ...more
Laura Carter
Oct 28, 2015 Laura Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I, too, remember hip theories of "gay marriage as a state of mind." This book, grounded in Butler's sense of social ethics and feminism, seeks to displace popular notions of gender and sexuality. All of this is great. She even ends with a narrative about her love of philosophy, which may be familiar to young (and not-so-young) readers.
Apr 07, 2016 Mentai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depending on the essay, quite accessible, nice way to dip in to Butler.
John Carter McKnight
May 10, 2011 John Carter McKnight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
A brilliant but somewhat uneven collection of essays. Your mileage may vary as to what resonates and what's skippable: for me the critiques of Lacanian psychoanalysis definitely fell into the latter category. I'd thought that the Oedipal complex had about the scientific currency of phlogiston; it was astonishing to see that Freud and Lacan arent' dead yet, but beyond that, not a great investment of my time. The remaining essays, however, are sheer gold.
Sep 28, 2015 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
I think my difficulties with this book stem from two areas: 1. We had a week to read this for my class, in addition to several other articles. Judith Butler has never been cited as easy to read, and a read through in one day is certainly not enough time to unpack many of her thought-provoking statements. 2. I kept thinking of LDS church leaders saying that "the family is under attack", and realizing that if that is the case, Judith Butler is on the frontlines of the anti-traditional family side. ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye-opening and deeply educational for those unfamiliar with the field of academic feminism or gender studies, however, be warned: this book is not what would traditionally be deemed as "accessible" anywhere outside of academia. It is extremely dense and often references other thinkers and philosophers (especially Lacan, Hegel and Foucalt), and expects the reader to be at least slightly familiar with them. This should not discourage you from reading (I have learned a great deal about normativity ...more
Quin Rich
Mar 29, 2016 Quin Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This text is a good, clear, and quick introduction to some of Judith Butler's more recent work on gender and sexuality. The earlier chapters are more concrete, and they feel somewhat dated. Butler's main project in this section is carving out a space for a critical/theoretical account of gender norms while still challenging the violence and erasure experienced by transgender/GNC subjects.

The text really begins to shine when Butler starts tackling more abstract theoretical concerns in the latter
Joseph Sverker
This is a very helpful book since it covers much of the basics of Butler's views on gender and sex and at the same time Butler writes out her views on political issues such as same sex marriage and adoption. As such, it gives her theories applicability.I would say that the language is not as difficult as Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter and for the person who might have read those two books and know them fairly well, this book will be of interest to show some changes and nuances in Butler's ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Andreea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has it's high points and low ones, so I hesitate between 4 and 5 stars. Some of the discussion on psychoanalysis is very boring if you're not interested in psychoanalysis (which seems like a very obvious thing to say?) so I skipped one of the essays, 'Quandaries of the Incest Taboo', I think, just because I really couldn't bear to read all about Freud etc again. That being said, the high points are very high and some of the essays are not only very reader, but almost touching - or more than a ...more
I usually don't add nonfiction books here that I read for class, but I'm going to disappoint myself if I don't achieve my goal of 35 books for the year. Given Butler's reputation , this book was relatively readable and endlessly fascinating, especially where her thoughts on the trans question and GID are concerned. Like many philosophers, she asks a lot of really tough questions and leaves it up to the reader to come up with answers, and the few she gives are awfully idealistic (for instance, th ...more
I'm not sure what's going on here... I finally understood performativity with this book, and on that note Butler makes some good points that also work for a general application on society, not just gender matters. However, sometimes she uses too many words, I feel like I could black out entire paragraphs and the message would still be understood. That being said, would recommend.
Jul 21, 2016 Mason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though a handful of the essays prove too narrow for wider use, Butler's discussion of social norms as they relate to gender and sexuality provides invaluable support for a movement towards greater inclusivity and understanding.
Jamie Johnston
I don't think I understood more than half of this book, and that was frustrating because much of what I did understand was fascinating, extremely thought-provoking, and occasionally quite moving. I started reading it about eighteen months ago and temporarily gave up when I hit a paragraph somewhere near the middle that I found so opaque that it completely broke my spirit; but even then I intended to try again one day, and eventually I did. I still haven't a clue what that paragraph was about and ...more
Lisa McAllister
Fascinating ideas; difficult reading. JB is amazing.
Dec 23, 2015 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's Butler - I only understood about 20% of it.
Dec 03, 2009 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Butler banga. If you're pretty deep into feminism (or feminist philosophy) the essays towards the beginning are probably more up your alley. If you're more in the philosophy side of feminism and gender (as I am), then the last three are good. I returned the book to the library so I'm not 100% on the title but the essay titled "The End of Sexual Difference" is especially good even for those uninitiated with Butler or even someone who wants an introduction to contemporary gender theory. En ...more
Aug 12, 2007 ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't find Butler especially helpful on transgender issues and so skip lightly over the chapters of this book that engage them. Nonetheless I love this book's introduction, where Butler does some great thinking about mourning, and also about what it means to resist interpellation into debased/spoiled identities. I see these sections as a sort of unintentional companion to the Intro to Jose Munoz's _Disidentifications_. Also the chapter on the heterosexuality of kinship has been very helpful to ...more
Alex Birchall
Jan 15, 2015 Alex Birchall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably Judith Butler's most accessible text, but its accessibility does not compromise its insight. Butler has a gifted way with words. Some of the material will still escape those not acquainted with theory, such as her critiques of psychoanalysis, her drawing on Levi-Straussian anthropology in her discussion of kinship structures, and the discussion of whether the Other has a free voice in philosophy. Nonetheless this volume is well worth one's time.
May 10, 2011 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender, borrowed, dominic
This book is a selection of essays, some more dense than others. It took me forever to read it due to the fact that, well, Butler is Butler. I adore her and love reading things she's written, but it sometimes takes me a while to get through. Getting to hear her characterize herself as a "bar dyke" when she was younger and ramble on about being/not being a philosopher were pretty fun, though.
Michael Cress
Her theory of gender as performance rather than instinct, engineered rather than inherent, society-influenced rather than God-given-----it makes so much sense. For my English Senior Capstone at college, our course centered around Queer Theory. Butler was my favorite theorist by far; her arguments are clear, coherent, applicable, and accessible. Definitely an interesting read.
Erienne Overli
Mar 23, 2015 Erienne Overli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Judith Butler is an American post-structuralist and feminist philosopher who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy and ethics. She is currently a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.
Butler received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1984, for a dissertation subsequently publi
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“Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. It may be that one wants to, or does, but it may also be that despite one's best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other, by the touch, by the scent, by the feel, by the prospect of the touch, by the memory of the feel. And so when we speak about my sexuality or my gender, as we do (and as we must), we mean something complicated by it. Neither of these is precisely a possession, but both are to be understood as modes of being dispossessed, ways of being for another, or, indeed, by virtue of another.” 124 likes
“Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.” 38 likes
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