Re: Fw: Butler & Nussbaum & Bad Writing


Thanks for the quotes from Butler and Nussbaum. Nussbaum does indeed, as
you say, simplify Butler and miss her point.

If you compare the two quotes, what is demonstrated is not that Butler's
writing is "too thin to be satisfying," as Nussbaum asserts, but her own
inability to READ the very words which Butler has written. Butler

"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to
structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of
hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition,
convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into
the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of
Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical
objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of
structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with
the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

Butler is criticizing Althusserian theory. She is commenting on the
"shift" away from it, towards a discourse on power

What does Nussbaum say?

"Marxist accounts, focusing on capital as the central force structuring
social relations, depicted the operations of that force as everywhere
uniform. By contrast, Althusserian accounts, focusing on power, see the
operations of that force as variegated and as shifting over time."

Has Nussbaum got Butler right? In no way. The distortions:
1.) Althusser is not a Marxist! So a shift from Marxism to "Althusserian
accounts" is possible! Hardly Butler's claim.
2.) Why? Because the shift Butler describes is from Althusserian Marxist
with its focus on structure to power and its relationship to time
(repetition, etc.).

This flies in the face of the most basis rules of reading, of
scholarship. Nussbaum is a violent reader, a reader who does not read,
but projects, obliterating the text before her. We might ask what
frightens her so much? Why the pre-judging that allows for the

By the way Joanna, could you give me the addresses of the other lists
where this is being discussed?



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