Vulnerability in Resistance

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 29 illustrations Published: October 2016

Middle East Studies, Politics > Political Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory

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.

Contributors. 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


"Interdisciplinary, relevant and rich in content, this collection of essays succeeds in thwarting the vulnerability/resistance dichotomy, and offers us plenty of feminist-inspired reimagined political-philosophical situated vocabularies for the here and now." — Evelien Geerts, Angelaki

"This is an important volume for those interested in grammars of resistance, protest cultures, and the mobilization of grief as a route into collective political subjectivity. Its crosscultural range enables us to see overlaps in forms of embodied resistance even when these latter are specific to a milieu and political condition." 
  — Pramod K Nayar, Journal of International and Global Studies

"A timely and deeply insightful contribution that may be of great interest to those engaged in critical international politics.... One of the greatest strengths of the volume lies in the scope of the essays. Throughout the volume understandings and uses of vulnerability change and morph, refusing any dogmatic definition. The range of engagements that the anthology encompasses manages to tie together disparate concepts and contexts around a simple, yet profoundly provocative, premise: that a theoretical embrace of vulnerability can take us to a new understanding of resistance and the resisting subject." — Jennifer Hobbs, International Feminist Journal of Politics

"For anyone interested in Butler’s work, this volume will be very valuable. Indeed, as a whole, Vulnerability in Resistance is an extremely provocative and valuable contribution to global feminist studies." — Ladelle McWhorter, Contemporary Political Theory

"The composite work is certainly a worthy one, a positive contribution to a number of subjects: gender studies, social status, political opposition efforts, comparative politics, all of which are supplemented by an extensive bibliography.... This is a book for anyone interested in feminist political theory or an understanding of the nature of political opposition movements." — Sanford R. Silverburg, Middle East Media and Book Reviews

"Highly recommendable for anyone interested at questions related to social movements, performativity, body politics, precarity, and resistance of the political violence." — Mikko Joronen, Space and Polity

“The authors ask important questions that can have a generalized application. Questions such as how is vulnerability produced, labelled, and maintained? What are the consequences of this labelling? And how do certain groups resist or harness such labels? These questions can be pertinent to scholarship on political movements and can be fruitful frames of inquiry for anyone interested in contemporary social resistance.” — Fadia Bahgat, Muslim World Book Review

"A brilliant experiment that brings together a variety of heterogenous reflections." — Marco Checchi, Ephemera

"The richness of the accounts offered in the book . . . creates a distinctive space at the intersections of feminist, cultural, social and political theory." — Claudia Lapping, European Journal of Women's Studies

"Offers diverse and insightful opportunities for radical politics today. . . . A valuable contribution to feminist geography." — Angharad Butler-Rees, Gender, Place & Culture

"Vulnerability in Resistance provides a wide variety of alternative theoretical approaches to feminist modes of resistance that do not deny sites of vulnerability but emerge from them. The collection is certainly indispensable for interdisciplinary-minded scholars interested in exploring new intellectual pathways of contemporary feminism that interweave social, political, and gender criticisms of vulnerability." — Babett Rubóczki, Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies

"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


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

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.

Table of Contents Back to Top
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

Index  329
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6290-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6279-1
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