Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly Review

Judith Butler elucidates the dynamics of public assembly under prevailing economic and political conditions, analyzing what they signify and how. Understanding assemblies as plural forms of performative action, Butler extends her theory of performativity to argue that precarity the destruction of the conditions of livability has been a galvanizing force and theme in today s highly visible protests.

Butler broadens the theory of performativity beyond speech acts to include the concerted actions of the body. Assemblies of physical bodies have an expressive dimension that cannot be reduced to speech, for the very fact of people gathering says something without always relying on speech. Drawing on Hannah Arendt s view of action, yet revising her claims about the role of the body in politics, Butler asserts that embodied ways of coming together, including forms of long-distance solidarity, imply a new understanding of the public space of appearance essential to politics.

Butler links assembly with precarity by pointing out that a body suffering under conditions of precarity still persists and resists, and that mobilization brings out this dual dimension of corporeal life. Just as assemblies make visible and audible the bodies that require basic freedoms of movement and association, so do they expose coercive practices in prison, the dismantling of social democracy, and the continuing demand for establishing subjugated lives as mattering, as equally worthy of life. By enacting a form of radical solidarity in opposition to political and economic forces, a new sense of the people emerges, interdependent, grievable, precarious, and persistent."

Title:Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
Edition Language:English

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    Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly Reviews

  • Dandi

    Response paper for class ********************In this response, I aim to think through the keyword appear (and two other related keywords, briefly) in Judith Butlers Notes Towards a Performative Theory...

  • ralowe

    occupy who? judith butler in *towards a performative theory of assembly* joins a list of favorite academics hung up on that damn word democracy: theres nothing wrong with the future-directed ideal, ju...

  • Stephanie Berbec

    I woke up before dawn to finish Judith Butlers most recent: Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. A timely read, for those interested, touching on both the Occupy and Black Lives Matter move...

  • D

    Erudite writing.Who really are 'the people'? And what operative of discursive power circumscribes 'the people' at any given moment, and for what purpose?In a time when neoliberal economics increasingl...

  • Estelle McInnis

    full of rich helpful tools for deconstructing the powers that affect the forms our lives take....

  • Rhys

    "Perhaps these recent assemblies prompt us to ask whether we need to revise our ideas of public space in order to take account of the forms of alliance and solidarity that are only partially dependent...

  • Dwight Davis

    This is a fantastic book. Butler expands her theory of performativity to include bodies in political action, gathered together for protest. Here we get her views on nonviolence, social selfhood, ethic...

  • Zana

    O_O (Only read if you are already familiarised with some Arendtian ideas of assemblies, social movements, and protests. I was only interested in this as my research is on the performative politics of ...

  • Yang

    Honestly, my first Butler. But so touching and accessible! Provocative, imaginative, and supportive!...

  • ?????

    While this book was interesting and worthwhile, I am unlikely to use it for my dissertation now. Perhaps I will return to it and give it the attention it deserves in the future....