9781784782474-max_221 more images image

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 reconceptualization of the left, one united in opposition and resistance to the illegitimate and arbitrary effects of interventionist military action.

Reviews

  • “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.”

Blog

  • Acting in Concert: a conversation with Judith Butler

    Occasioned by the publication of a French edition of Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Jean-Philippe Cazier's interview with Judith Butler first appeared in Diacritik


    Judith Butler, November 2015. via Vimeo.

    Your book explicitly draws on texts by numerous philosophers, notably Levinas and in particular Hannah Arendt. But it also seems to have a strong attachment to Spinoza’s work. We can establish numerous specific links between this book and Spinoza’s philosophy, for example its core interest in the notion of relations, its reflection on the "power" of the "mass," the question of the body and what a body can be, the problem — one that runs through several of your books — of the unliveable lives produced by a violent régime, etc. In general terms, what does your philosophical work owe to Spinoza’s writings? And more precisely: why do you think it is interesting to use Spinoza today in order to think through the political and ethical problems you pose in your book?

    It is true that Spinoza remains in the background of my thinking. Perhaps you have detected that his thought is surfacing more explicitly in my own. I am aware, for instance, that his notion of persistence, and his philosophy of life are quite important for my understanding of the political realm. I also consider myself to be close to Etienne Balibar’s early work on Spinoza and politics. It might be important to consider some paths from Spinoza to contemporary politics that does not necessarily move through Deleuze, even though Deleuze brings out a very important dimension of bodily action as rooted in the capacity to be affected. The point is not only that the conatus, that desire to persist in one’s own being, is enhanced or diminished depending on the dynamic interactions with other living beings, but that a desire to live together, a pulsation that belongs to co-habitation, emerges that forms the basis of consensus, and that this political principle and practice follows from the very exercise or actualization of the desire to persist in one’s own being. One desires to persist in one’s own being, but that can only happen if one is affected by the other, and so without that fundamental susceptibility there can be no persistence

    Continue Reading

  • Trump, fascism, and the construction of "the people": An interview with Judith Butler

    Christian Salmon's interview with Judith Butler first appeared in Mediapart. Translated by David Broder.

    Correction: An earlier version of this post included Judith Butler's remarks in translation from French. Butler has since sent us the English responses she submitted to
    Mediapart, which the post has been updated to reflect. 

    via Flickr.

    What does Donald Trump represent? The American philosopher Judith Butler, professor at UC, Berkeley, has recently published a short book in French, Rassemblement [Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly]. She explains that Donald Trump incarnates a new form of fascism. As she puts it, "A lot of people are very happy to see this disturbing, unintelligent guy parading around as if he was the centre of the Earth and winning power thanks to this posture." 

    Continue Reading

  • Political Theory Undergraduate Reading List


    Your campus needn’t be a hotbed of communist activity for you to be armed with the proper theory this school year. Prepare to debate your professors and peers with Verso’s Political Theory 101 syllabus.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Judith Butler