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Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence

Responding to the US’s perpetual war, Butler explores how mourning could inspire solidarity.
In her most impassioned and personal book to date, Judith Butler responds in this profound appraisal of post-9/11 America to the current US policies to wage perpetual war, and calls for a deeper understanding of how mourning and violence might instead inspire solidarity and a quest for global justice.

Reviews

  • “It’s clear that its author is still interested in stirring up trouble — academic, political and otherwise.”
  • “A book that shines with the splendor of engaged thought.”
  • “Here is a unique voice of courage and conceptual ambition that addresses public life from the perspective of psychic reality, encouraging us to acknowledge the solidarity and the suffering through which we emerge as subjects of freedom.”
  • “Judith Butler is quite simply one of the most probing, challenging, and influential thinkers of our time.”

Blog

  • Precarisation, Indebtedness, Giving Time: Interlacing Lines across Maria Eichorn’s 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours - Isabell Lorey

    At 6pm on 23 April, following a day-long crowded symposium in the otherwise empty Chisenhale Gallery in London, the doors and gates were locked, and a sign affixed to the railings. The next exhibition: Maria Eichorn's 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours - a 5 week exhibition which gives every member of staff at the Gallery full-paid time off work to do whatever they want as long as that doesn't involve working at the Gallery.



    Eichorn's work investigates the intersection of contemporary economic and social conditions. To accompany the exhibition, the Chisenhale Gallery have produced a catalogue featuring reflections on Eichorn's work from Stewart Martin and Isabell Lorey - which is reproduced below. For the full catalogue and for more information about the exhibition visit the Chisenhale Gallery's website.

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  • The year in review: The Verso blog’s top 15 articles of 2015

    Precariousness and Grievability—When Is Life Grievable?’ by Judith Butler

    "One way of posing the question of who “we” are in these times of war is by asking whose lives are considered valuable, whose lives are mourned, and whose lives are considered ungrievable. We might think of war as dividing populations into those who are grievable and those who are not.” Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

    After the Paris attacks of November this year, Judith Butler’s analysis of the different frames through which we experience violence in Frames of War provided an essential guide to thinking through the tragedy. We published an edited extract from the book that asks us to observe the relationships between violence, power and the mournability of some lives above others. 


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  • #ParisAttacks: A reading list

    On Friday 13th November, 129 people lost their lives in a series of attacks in Paris reportedly carried out by Islamic State. They join the dead of Beirut, Suruç, Syria, Iraq and countless other war-torn regions as innocent victims of a conflict that knows no civilians.  

    The urgency with which we have to pull ourselves back from the brink is signalled not only by the brutality of the reactions, but by the fact that they are by now entirely predictable: airstrikes abroad, destructive of life but strategically pointless; attacks on muslim populations in the west, dubbed 'revenge' by a racist media.

    All is fuel on the fire. More than ever, we need to understand the situation in all its complexities.


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Other books by Judith Butler