Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

Analyzing the different frames through which we experience war, Butler calls for a reorientation of the Left.
In this urgent response to violence, racism and increasingly aggressive methods of coercion, Judith Butler explores the media’s portrayal of armed conflict, a process integral to how the West prosecutes its wars. In doing so, she calls for a re-conceptualization of the Left, one united in opposition and resistance to the illegitimate and arbitrary effects of interventionist military action.


  • “A trenchant and brilliant book.”
  • “It's clear that its author is still interested in stirring up trouble—academic, political and otherwise.”
  • “Judith Butler is quite simply one of the most probing, challenging, and influential thinkers of our time.”
  • “Judith Butler is the most creative and courageous social theorist writing today. Frames of War is an intellectual masterpiece that weds a new understanding of being, immersed in history, to a novel Left politics that focuses on State violence, war and resistance.”
  • “An impressive and challenging book from one of the leading intellectuals of our time.”


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    The attacks on Paris last Friday, 13th November, have prompted a predictable response: bombs abroad and a further restriction of civil liberties at home, not to mention a ratcheting up of Islamophobia. Sebastian Budgen analyses the wisdom of this approach.

    This is perhaps the moment to take a step back to review the brilliance of West's counterrorist strategy, which we can then admire in all its strategic and tactical coherence:

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  • A Short History of the State of Emergency—By Paul Alliès

    "The State of Emergency has become a synonym for the government doing as it pleases."

    One the first and most important statements of the French government after the Friday attacks concerned a measure that has received scant or inadequate attention—the declaration of a State of Emergency. What is a State of Emergency? What impact does it have? Is it the right response?

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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