One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past fifty years, Judith Butler's Gender Trouble is as celebrated as it is controversial.
Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.
Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.
'Rereading this book, as well as reading it for the first time, reshapes the categories through which we experience and perform our lives and bodies. To be troubled in this way is an intellectual pleasure and a political necessity.' - Donna Haraway
Preface (1999) Preface (1990) 1. Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire I. 'Women' as the Subject of Feminism II. The Compulsory Order of Sex/Gender/Desire III. Gender: The Circular Ruins of Contemporary Debate IV. Theorizing the Binary, the Unitary and Beyond V. Identity, Sex and the Metaphysics of Substance VI. Language, Power and the Strategies of Displacement 2. Prohibition, Psychoanalysis, and the Production of the Heterosexual Matrix I. Structuralism's Critical Exchange II. Lacan, Riviere, and the Strategies of Masquerade III. Freud and the Melancholia of Gender IV. Gender Complexity and the Limits of Identification V. Reformulating Prohibition as Power 3. Subversive Bodily Acts I. The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva II. Foucault, Herculine, and the Politics of Sexual Discontinuity III. Monique Wittig - Bodily Disintegration and Fictive Sex IV. Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions Conclusion - From Parody to Politics