The Problem of the Feminist Subject and Butler's Alternative

Baydar, Kadriye Sena
According to the poststructuralist understanding of power, since there is no position prior to, or independent of, the normative operations of power, neither the identity nor the category of the subject can be formulated independently of social and cultural norms. Correspondingly, there cannot be an identity category that is universally representative. However, in the case of feminism, since such understanding seems to mean rejecting the autonomy of the subject and restraining the possibility of collectivity, it is criticized by some feminist theorists. Judith Butler, with the terms parodic repetition and contingent foundations, aims to reformulate the feminist subject by refusing modernism but without perpetuating the problems of postmodernism. In this sense, Butler’s theory promises a solution to the ongoing discussion of the problem of the feminist subject. In this study, Butler’s critique of the feminist subject is analyzed and the reliability of the alternatives that are presented as a tool for an emancipatory movement is interrogated.


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The question of whether Foucault can be considered a structuralist or a poststructuralist philosopher has led to various interpretations among Foucault scholars. On the one hand, the Foucault scholars reading his archaeological method from a poststructuralist perspective argue that Foucault aimed to diagnose the present from the beginning of his archaeological period in order to understand what the present day is. On the other hand, some argue that Foucault cannot be called a structuralist because he is con...
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Citation Formats
K. S. Baydar, “The Problem of the Feminist Subject and Butler’s Alternative,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2022.