I've read this book three times in the past several months in preparation for giving a talk on post-structural perspectives on early childhood gender and sexual development in psychoanalysis. As always, I find the effort it takes to understand Butler's writing to pay off richly in the brilliance of her arguments. In particular, I was drawn to two sections in this book: the first a reconsidering of who it is that turns to become a subject in Althusser's model of interpellation, and the second an exchange of papers with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in which both grapple with how her work might be informed by psychoanalytic practice and the practice might be informed by her work. Having read this book both prior to and after immersing myself in Freud, Lacan and some of their major commentators, I found that I got far more out of Butler's book with a stronger background in the language and assumptions of psychoanalysis.
It arrived quickly and in good condition. But, I did not like this book. It is a difficult read with lots of repetition about power, and subjection. Unfortunately I had to read this book for a Shakespearen course.
I was drawn to interpellation. Althusser had written something about interpellation in The Spectre of Hegel and Judith Butler's book the Psychic Life of Power is a scholarly analysis of interpellation as a therapeutic result of trying to put intertextual meaning on the language people have been captured by when they feel a self being imposed upon themselves by a social order. I wonder about collapse of shambolic disorder when people think I'm too smart to tell them anything about this kind of theory. This book is based so much on Hegel and Lacan that modern philosophy can mulch these words into concepts for psychotic multiplicities, but there is no unity in subjects who get split with being alive in a song by Pearl Jam called Alive. Take a look. You know where, under where, or underwear on or off, take your pick.
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