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Butler quote 2 Group Three

November 5, 2011 · 5 Comments

As a result, the “I” that I am finds itself at once constituted by norms and dependent on them but also endeavors to live in ways that maintain a critical and transformative relation to them. This is not easy, because the “I” becomes, to a certain extent unknowable, threatened with unviability, with becoming undone altogether, when it no longer incorporates the norm in such a way that makes this “I” fully recognizable. There is a certain departure from the human that takes place in order to start the process of remaking the human (Butler 2004, 3-4).

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

5 responses so far ↓

  •   sjack10 // Nov 8th 2011 at 4:35 pm

    What I think this quote is saying is that no one is ever truly an “I” so in a since the individual cannot truly exist. How can one be an individual if the very things that make us an “individual per say are based upon socially constructed norms and dependent them as well. These very norms were constructed to categorize society however not everyone fits into these norms, so then what does that make them if they do not fit in. Do they cease to exist or are they simply categorized as the “Other”? One can never be fully recognizable, is this even possibly. Life is a constant process of doing and undoing, searching for what makes “you”, “you”, but who am I is a question that can never have a true answer. We are defined into social categorizes based on race, class, gender, etc.

  •   vsbatc08 // Nov 8th 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I don’t know that Butler is saying that the “I” can never exist, I think she is saying to exist as an “I” is to inherently be affected by societal norms. If a person goes too far beyond these norms they become unrecognizable and do not exist. I believe that she is also making the point that people can be done and undone over and over by these norms and redefine themselves. When you depart from these norms you begin to undo yourself so that you can be redefined as human.

  •   esmarv09 // Nov 8th 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I agree with Violet- I don’t think Butler is saying that the “I” cannot exist- but rather, that it exists along with a part outside of you. It is part of recognizing that bodies are always for something more than ourselves. It is part of the ongoing process that individuals go through to develop themselves through themselves and their experiences with society. As Violet said, if one goes too far beyond the norms then they lose sight of the “I” within them. To exist as a body- it must belong to you and not you. It is a struggle to adjust to something that is not biologically yours, but without this outside influence, the “I” cannot exist.

  •   mvlave09 // Nov 8th 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I agree with both Violet and Emily, I don’t think that Butler is saying the “I” is impossible, but that in order to find the “I” you have to remake yourselves in relation with others outside of you. She stresses the fact that interaction is key to existence, and that while your body is technically yours its not because it is also public…as it is essential for other people to recognize themselves using YOUR body. There is a struggle for recognition and to be seen in the social order, which explains is why bodies are public.

  •   jeshul08 // Nov 13th 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I agree with the last three comments. I don’ think that Butler is saying the “I” cannot not exist but it exists outside of ourselves. Even though our body is ours, it never is truly ours because people are recognized through the lens of others.

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