Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly by Judith Butler (review)

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly by Judith Butler (review) Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. By Judith Butler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2015. 256 pp. Hardcover $27.95, e-book $15.37. Reviewed by Lee M. Price In 2011, when Judith Butler delivered the lecture series that would become Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, the speech act theorist joined other critical scholars attempting to work through the dark cloud of neoliberal fatigue settling over the humanities. “Identitarian ontologies” had become only more entrenched in the age of terror (68), any potential alternatives seeming destined for “discursive appropriation” by the insidious vocabulary of late biopolitical capitalism (14). Fatigued, but not yet resigned, Notes sets out “to rethink the speech act” (18), not to discover something else to say or some other way to say it but instead to take seriously what Butler (1997) described more than a decade ago as “the blindspot of speech, that which acts in excess of what is said” (11). Enter the assembly, public appearances of disproportionately injured bodies that express rather than speak the demand for shared conditions of livability. The assembly is simultaneously an ontology of vulnerability, an ethics of recognition, and a politics of persistence that puts Butler’s abiding concerns http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy and Rhetoric Penn State University Press

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly by Judith Butler (review)

Philosophy and Rhetoric, Volume 50 (3) – Aug 4, 2017

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1527-2079
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Abstract

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. By Judith Butler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2015. 256 pp. Hardcover $27.95, e-book $15.37. Reviewed by Lee M. Price In 2011, when Judith Butler delivered the lecture series that would become Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, the speech act theorist joined other critical scholars attempting to work through the dark cloud of neoliberal fatigue settling over the humanities. “Identitarian ontologies” had become only more entrenched in the age of terror (68), any potential alternatives seeming destined for “discursive appropriation” by the insidious vocabulary of late biopolitical capitalism (14). Fatigued, but not yet resigned, Notes sets out “to rethink the speech act” (18), not to discover something else to say or some other way to say it but instead to take seriously what Butler (1997) described more than a decade ago as “the blindspot of speech, that which acts in excess of what is said” (11). Enter the assembly, public appearances of disproportionately injured bodies that express rather than speak the demand for shared conditions of livability. The assembly is simultaneously an ontology of vulnerability, an ethics of recognition, and a politics of persistence that puts Butler’s abiding concerns

Journal

Philosophy and RhetoricPenn State University Press

Published: Aug 4, 2017

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