Undoing Gender

Undoing Gender
Undoing Gender constitutes Judith Butler's recent reflections on gender and sexuality, focusing on new kinship, psychoanalysis and the incest taboo, transgender, intersex, diagnostic categories, social violence, and the tasks of social transformation. In terms that draw from feminist and queer theory, Butler considers the norms that govern--and fail to govern--gender and sexuality as they relate to the constraints on recognizable personhood. The book constitutes a reconsideration of her earlier view on gender performativity from Gender Trouble. In this work, the critique of gender norms is clearly situated within the framework of human persistence and survival. And to "do" one's gender in certain ways sometimes implies "undoing" dominant notions of personhood. She writes about the "New Gender Politics" that has emerged in recent years, a combination of movements concerned with transgender, transsexuality, intersex, and their complex relations to feminist and queer theory.

Details Undoing Gender

Title Undoing Gender
AuthorJudith Butler
Release Date16th Sep 2004
Pages288 pages

7 reviews on “Undoing Gender

  1. Genderific

    This is Butler’s most accessible book. It continues where Gender Trouble left off, addressing the regulation of gender and how that affects people. It was great to hear someone finally talking about the people affected by discourse, rather than just creating new words without thinking about their effects. However, Butler didn’t follow through with any practical steps besides some jargon about alliances and new strategies.There’s also a good section in which Butler takes on Rosi Braidotti and the entire school of sexual difference theory….

  2. D. Bond

    In “Undoing Gender” Butler engages in a rather provocative discussion of the normative structure of gender and the “livability” of those lives that do not fit neatly into what she sees as a hegemonic, male/female “gender binary.” In her discussion she draws heavily on the work of Foucault, though she does not strictly adhere to his discourse theory throughout all of the essays. Though she tends to be redundant, the book is worth reading, particularly if you are interested in what it would be like to “radically” rethink gender….

  3. J. Saunders

    `Undoing Gender’ is certainly a much easier read than ‘Gender Trouble’ and ‘Bodies That Matter’. However, it still presents thoughtful reflections relevant to Butler’s earlier work. It’s so gloomy to read multiple texts by the same author (especially in the academic field) and find they all explore the same viewpoint- that’s why it is really refreshing to read Butler’s work in succession to witness the ‘redoing’ of ideas. Butler’s up to date frameworks are especially relevant in the forever changing realm of gender.However, in reading Butler’s work I find it necessary to consult a whole heap of other titles, including work by Freud, Foucault, Lacan. Keep this in mind… it’s not a light read! Consider it more a starting point….

  4. A. Stilwell

    While “Undoing Gender” is one of Judith Butler’s most accessible texts (in that one does not need to have a philosophical companion and an OED on hand to read it), I did find many of the essays to not be as well developed as others she has written. Many of the essays seem to be half-completed, lacking some substance. While I do think that “Undoing Gender” is a good start for someone interested in post-structuralism, I would recommend that one really take the time and effort to read some of her more well thought out books like “Bodies That Matter” or “Gender Trouble” — which might require additional reading of Derrida, Foucault, Freud and Lacan to really get the fullness of the texts….

  5. James Loewen

    “Undoing Gender” is a dense and scholarly tome which demands careful consideration and perhaps repeated readings to fully appreciate. I would give it five stars but for Chapter Three where I found Professor Butler’s focus on the David Reimer case a somewhat superficial rehash of what has already been written, lacking in the critical analysis Butler uses to excellent effect elsewhere throughout her work.On the famous case of David Reimer, whose penis was burned completely off during a botched circumcision when he was eight months old, Professor Butler writes:”David was born with XY chromosomes and at the age of eight months, his penis was accidentally burned and severed in the course of a surgical operation to rectify phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin thwarts urination. This is a relatively risk-free procedure but the doctor who performed it on David was using a new machine, apparently one that he hadn’t used before, one that his colleagues declared was unnecessary for the job…

  6. W

    First things first, Judith Butler is scary smart. Her linguist/philosopher credentials can make her a tough read sometimes, but the language she uses here is clear and pure. Undoing Gender provided the first insights into the gendered connections that we all share and how the world understands us through these labels. She connects Foucault to Simone de Beauvoir, Hegel, Freud and beyond. I very much appreciated the depths that Undoing Gender plumbed to connect my experience to everyone else’s, and to our common history and struggle. I tend to hightlight and annotate books that I use as reference and this copy is dripping yellow, pink, blue and green….

  7. typhanie

    I used this book for a theory presentation. It was absolutely awesome! Judith Butler’s argument is strong. Although, some of the arguments were a bit difficult to pick apart, Butler unwinds the gender stereotypes perfectly….

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