Blogging the Theoretical

Butler Quote Group Three

November 2, 2011 · 5 Comments

Bodies still must be apprehended as given over. Part of understanding the oppression of lives is precisely to understand that there is no way to argue away this condition of primary vulnerability of being given over to the touch of the other, even if, or precisely when, there is no other there, and no support for our lives. To counter oppression requires that one understand that lives are supported and maintained differentially, that there are radically different ways in which human physical vulnerability is distributed across the globe.  Certain lives will be highly protected, and the abrogation of their claims to sanctity will be sufficient to mobilize the forces of war. And other lives will not find such fast and furious support and will not even qualify as “grievable” (Butler 2004, 24).

Categories: Emily · Group Three · Jillian · Maddy · Star · Violet

5 responses so far ↓

  •   vsbatc08 // Nov 6th 2011 at 5:41 pm

    In this quote Butler is discussing oppression and the difference in oppression seen across the globe. However, before one can be oppressed they must be recognized by the “other” and you cannot exist unless you are recognized. I believe that she is saying that once people are recognized and become real they are subjected to different amounts of oppression depending on their place in the different societies across the globe. So, recognition is double sided – you must be recognized to exist, but once you are recognized you can be subjected to oppression.

  •   esmarv09 // Nov 6th 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Violet- I think you do a good job of discussing the issue of recognition and its relation to oppression. The presence of the “other” and an individual’s place in society are both important.

    In this quote, I want to focus on Butler’s position on vulnerability and its ever-present existence. She refers to the idea that if you are dependent upon a social condition from the start, then you are already, always vulnerable. Furthermore, if you rely solely on a single idea then you have already failed by being ethically impulsive. I believe it is important to recognize how vulnerable this makes individuals and how they must be able to recognize these situations in order to reliably take care of their ethical responsibility and responsiveness.

  •   sjack10 // Nov 6th 2011 at 7:19 pm

    However, not everyone is truly recognized; equally should I say. Based on the structural arrangements of society some peoples lives are deemed as valuable while others are considered essentially worthless. The dominant group in society creates and enforces ideologies so that they could maintain power . However, the dominant group is dependent upon the “Other” to be recognized and with this acknowledgment is how they continue to have their power. The person(s) that hold the power are the keepers of oppression. Dependent upon the society that you live in the levels of oppression are different as well as the oppressors and the oppresses. Even if the recognition isn’t equal everyone is recognized otherwise no one could be called an “other”.

  •   mvlave09 // Nov 7th 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Personally what I found particularly interesting in this quote, is the discussion of the various ways one can “give themselves over”. Experiences and situations are extremely different in other parts of the world and I think it is important to acknowledge how different environments play a part in the “letting go” of our bodies and our vulnerability.

    Star- I like how you brought up power, and the fact that whoever holds that power is also the person who is controlling oppression. Do you think that the fact that power produces positive institutions is something to focus on as well? I find the way that Butler includes power as a producer of both positive and negative institutions a refreshing point.

  •   jeshul08 // Nov 16th 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Butler says that we are always dependent on the hegemonic power however hegemony could not exist unless it is recognized by the “other”. It is everyones desire to be recognized by the “other” yet once this recognition occurs we can be subjected to oppression. The form of oppression that one is subjected to changes across cultures and there are different forms and levels of these oppressions.

    Maddy – I really liked the question that you proposed to Star. I feel no matter what the power is producing whether it be a positive or negative institution, these group will remain in power because they have the ability to control the oppressed groups.

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