Judith Butler – The Force of Nonviolence


Judith Butler’s new book shows how an ethic of nonviolence must be connected to a broader political struggle for social equality. Further, it argues that nonviolence is often misunderstood as a passive practice, or as an individualist ethical relation to existing forms of power. But, in fact, nonviolence is an ethical position found in the midst of the political field. An aggressive form of nonviolence accepts that hostility is part of our psychic constitution, but values ambivalence as a way of checking the conversion of aggression into violence. One contemporary challenge to a politics of nonviolence points out that there is a difference of opinion on what counts as violence and nonviolence. The distinction between them can be mobilized in the service of ratifying the state’s monopoly on violence.

Considering nonviolence as an ethical problem within a political philosophy requires a critique of individualism as well as an understanding of the psychosocial dimensions of violence. Butler draws upon Foucault, Fanon, Freud, and Benjamin to consider how the interdiction against violence fails to include lives regarded as ungrievable. By considering how “racial phantasms” inform justifications of state and administrative violence, Butler tracks how violence is often attributed to those who are most severely exposed to its lethal effects.

Author: Judith Butler
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Duration: 5 hours 51 minutes
Released: 20 Apr 2002
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

grille deformed

The book makes some really good points regarding the impact of alcohol and the benefits of abstinence from it. I found the reading to sound a little mechanical at times and, beyond the physical wellness discussed, the spiritual aspects of the book were a little out-there for me (toward the end I found myself skipping forward through parts that I felt were a side step away from the message I bought this book for).