Att se det negativa i ansiktet, och dröja kvar vid det: Ekstas och ansvar hos Judith Butler
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This essay argues that the ethical theory of ”failure” Judith Butler is proposing in her later work, specifically in Giving an Account of Oneself, is based on an idea of the subject as ”ec-static” or outside of itself. The idea of the ecstatic subject is formulated already in Butlers dissertation on Hegel, later to be published as Subjects of Desire. This essay sets out to study how this formulation is first articulated in Subjects of Desire and then further developed to ground the ethical project of Giving an Account of Oneself. By these means, the aim is to explore what implications the subject conceived as ecstatic might have for Butlers ethics of "failure", particularly with regards to the notion of responsibility.
The first part explicates three aspects of the ecstatic figure as it unfolds in Butlers reading of Hegel in Subjects of Desire: the ecstacy of rethorics, desire and recognition. In an interplay between these aspects the quest for self-identity is revealed as being constantly thwarted by a principle of negativity. Instead, the ecstatic subject finds itself constituted by alterity and thereby also funda- mentally dependent on the recognition by others. Turning in the second part to Giving an Account of Oneself, this ecstatic moment is extended to involve the very conditions of recognition. As a result, and in tandem with a radicalized understanding of performativity and relationality, the ecsta- tic subject is rendered partially opaque to itself. This means that every effort to give an adequate account of oneself will necessarily ”fail”. However, according to Butler, what makes us ”fail” is also what binds us together. The third and final part of the essay discuss what this ethical theory of ”failure” means to the notion of responsibility and how it derives from the conception of the subject as ecstatic. Departing from Catherine Mills's and Hannah Stark's critical readings, Butler's ethical proposal to acknowledge this "failure" and to abide by the limits of self-knowledge is examined in relation to representation, difference and identity. In conclusion Butler's notion of ethical re- sponsibilty is found to linger on the risky line between an open avowing of our unknowingness and a demand to recognize what or who is left out from every act of knowing.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 44 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29721OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-29721DiVA: diva2:911651
Subject / course
Smith, Nicholas, Högskolelektor
Bartonek, Anders, Högskolelektor