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From performativity to melancholy: narratives of resistance and action in Judith Butler

Grant number: 18/19391-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Nathalie de Almeida Bressiani
Grantee:Michele Teixeira Bonote
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/23375-6 - Performativity and Agency: the psychic dimension of identity, BE.EP.MS


In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler starts from an analysis of the power of Foucauldian matrix to problematize the centrality given to the category "women" within the feminist representative politics. To support this position, she carries out a genealogy of this category, resuming the speeches of power that structured the conception of identity as a methodological and normative prerequisite of politics. In doing so, she rejects the sex / gender distinction, showing how "sex" is also a culturally constructed category, and reformulates the conception of gender as performative, in defense of an immanent subversive policy of re-signifying hegemonic gender norms. This position has led to numerous criticisms and different interpretations of the (im)possibilities of resistance and action in her theory. After three years of publishing his book, Butler launches Bodies that Matter, in which she rescues Derrida's theory of speech act to reevaluate performativity as citationality / iterability, that rethinks the concept of agency as independent from the fiction of a pre-existing subject. However, it was only in 1997, with the book The Psychic Life of Power, that Butler resumes the discussion about the paradox of agency. In this book, the philosopher deepens her explanation through psychoanalysis and, mainly, through the process of melancholy, to show how social norms are incorporated and re-signified psychically. In a movement that goes from performativity to melancholy, going through citationality, this dissertation undertakes a reconstruction that takes up and analyzes the theoretical paths and conflicts through which Butler's theory of performativity went through the 1990s, seeking to clarify and deepen its understanding about the narratives of resistance and action of a subversive performative policy. (AU)

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