Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex

TitleBodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsButler, Judith
Number of Pages288
CityNew York

In this volume, the author argues that theories of gender need to return to the most material dimension of sex and sexuality: the body. The author offers a brilliant reworking of the body, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. The author argues that power operates to constrain sex from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She clarifies the notion of "performativity" introduced in her seminal work Gender Trouble and via bold readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud explores the meaning of a citational politics. She also draws on documentary and literature with compelling interpretations of the film Paris is Burning, Nella Larsen's Passing, and short stories by Willa Cather.

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