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Butler and Ethics

Edited by Moya Lloyd

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9 essays give the first sustained evaluation of Judith Butler's alleged ethical turn

Judith Butler is best known for Gender Trouble (1990), the book that introduced the idea of gender performativity. However, with the publication of Giving an Account of Oneself in 2005, it appeared that her work had taken a different turn: away from considerations of sex, gender, sexuality and politics, and towards ethics.

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Notes on Contributors

Moya Lloyd

  1. Signifying Otherwise: Liveability and Language
    Nathan Gies
  2. Undoing Ethics: Butler on Precarity, Opacity and Responsibility
    Catherine Mills
  3. Butler’s Ethical Appeal: Being, Feeling, Acting Responsible
    Sara Rushing
  4. Violence, Affect, Ethics
    Birgit Schippers
  5. Sensate Democracy and Grievable Life
    Fiona Jenkins
  6. Two Regimes of the Human: Butler and the Politics of Mattering
    Drew Walker
  7. The Ethics and Politics of Vulnerable Bodies
    Moya Lloyd
  8. Subjectivation, the Social, and a (Missing) Account of the Social Formation: Judith Butler’s ‘Turn’
    Samuel A. Chambers

Notes on Contributors

About the Author

Moya Lloyd is Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University. She is author of Beyond Identity Politics: Feminism, Power and Politics (Sage, 2005) and Judith Butler: From Norms to Politics (Polity, 2007). She is co-author of Political Ideologies: An Introduction (Palgrave, 2003) and Contemporary Social and Political Theory: An Introduction (Open University Press, 1998). She is co-editor of The Impact of Michel Foucault on the Social Sciences and Humanities (Macmillan, 1997).


There is no better guide to Judith Butler’s work to date, and to the ‘ethical turn’ debate about it, than this carefully structured volume. Lloyd and her contributors tackle all the definitional questions, including the concept of ethics itself, as well as key terms, including grief, liveability, vulnerability and violence.

- Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory, University of Bristol

Moya Lloyd’s edited volume Butler and Ethics represents a valuable contribution to scholarly literature on the work of Judith Butler. One merit of the volume is that, far from speaking in a uniform voice, the authors take up a diversity of positions on Butler’s thought, diverging with respect to the value of central concepts (such as recognition, livability, grievability and vulnerability), the status of normativity and Butler’s ‘ethical turn', and the strength or radicalness of her politics. Common themes include the role of affect in ethics, the relationship between politics and ethics, political demonstration, contestation or appeal and Butler’s appropriation of other thinkers (e.g., Althusser, Levinas). The volume also performs the helpful service of forging connections between Butler’s more recent work (e.g., Giving an Account of Oneself, Frames of War, Parting Ways and Dispossession) and the concepts at the heart of her earlier work, such as performativity, intelligibility and subjection.

- Erinn Cunniff Gilson, University of North Florida, Contemporary Political Theory

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