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Vulnerability in Resistance
Butler, Judith, Zeynep Gambetti and Leticia Sabsay (Eds)
Duke University Press / Softcover / 2016-10-01 / 0822362902
Feminist Theory / Philosophy
price: $34.95 (may be subject to change)
352 pages
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Vulnerability and resistance have often been seen as opposites, with the assumption that vulnerability requires protection and the strengthening of paternalistic power at the expense of collective resistance. Focusing on political movements and cultural practices in different global locations, including Turkey, Palestine, France, and the former Yugoslavia, the contributors to Vulnerability in Resistance articulate an understanding of the role of vulnerability in practices of resistance. They consider how vulnerability is constructed, invoked, and mobilized within neoliberal discourse, the politics of war, resistance to authoritarian and securitarian power, in LGBTQI struggles, and in the resistance to occupation and colonial violence. The essays offer a feminist account of political agency by exploring occupy movements and street politics, informal groups at checkpoints and barricades, practices of self-defense, hunger strikes, transgressive enactments of solidarity and mourning, infrastructural mobilizations, and aesthetic and erotic interventions into public space that mobilize memory and expose forms of power. Pointing to possible strategies for a feminist politics of transversal engagements and suggesting a politics of bodily resistance that does not disavow forms of vulnerability, the contributors develop a new conception of embodiment and sociality within fields of contemporary power.


"This book presents an outstanding chorus of political theorists who are engaged in vivid conversations not only with each other but also with the many activists and citizens invested in devising and practicing different politics in public squares, in courts, and in the media. They ask what resistance is and how to conceptualize the vulnerability that is implicated in it while turning a broad spectrum of lived experiences into reflective practice and informed theory. These fascinating contributions delineate the terrain of civil struggles that have emerged in the last decade and generate an original and much-needed lexicon of counterpolitics." — Ariella Azoulay, author of, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

"Vulnerability in Resistance marks an exciting step forward in discussions of the concept of vulnerability, signaling important and distinctive directions in how we understand human rights, forms of protest, and debates on the 'necropolitical.' Theoretically ambitious, this collection opens up new possibilities for collaborative thinking across the humanities." — Vikki Bell, author of, The Art of Post-Dictatorship


Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction / Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay 1

1. Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance / Judith Butler 12

2. Risking Oneself and One's Identity: Agonism Revisited / Zeynep Gambetti 28

3. Bouncing Back: Vulnerability and Resistance in Times of Resilience / Sarah Bracke 52

4. Vulnerable Times / Marianne Hirsch 76

5. Barricades: Resources and Residues of Resistance / Basak Ertür 97

6. Dreams and the Political Subject / Elena Loizidou 122

7. Vulnerable Corporealities and Precarious Belongings in Mona Hatoum's Art / Elena Tzelepis 146

8. Precarious Politics: The Activism of "Bodies That Count" (Aligning with Those That Don't) in Palestine's Colonial Frontier / Rema Hammami 167

9. When Antigone Is a Man: Feminist "Trouble" in the Late Colony / Nükhet Sirman 191

10. Violence against Women in Turkey: Vulnerability, Sexuality, and Eros / Meltem Ahiska 211

11. Bare Subjectivity: Faces, Veils, and Masks in the Contemporary Allegories of Western Citizenship / Elsa Dorlin 236

12. Nonsovereign Agonism (or, Beyond Affirmation versus Vulnerability) / Athena Athanasiou 256

13. Permeable Bodies: Vulnerability, Affective Powers, Hegemony / Leticia Sabsay 278

Bibliography 303

Contributors 325



Meltem Ahiska, Athena Athanasiou, Sarah Bracke, Judith Butler, Elsa Dorlin, Basak Ertür, Zeynep Gambetti, Rema Hammami, Marianne Hirsch, Elena Loizidou, Leticia Sabsay, Nükhet Sirman, Elena Tzelepis

About the Editors:

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature and Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Zeynep Gambetti is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bogaziçi University.

Leticia Sabsay is Assistant Professor in the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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