Judith Butler, Radical Democracy and Micro-politics<sup>1</sup>

Birgit Schippers

in The Politics of Radical Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633999
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652723 | DOI:
Judith Butler, Radical Democracy and Micro-politics1

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This chapter assesses the significance of micro-politics for Butler's understanding of radical democratic practice, and examines the politics of radical democracy, not just its theoretical contours. To this end, it focuses on two interrelated forms of micro-politics: ‘talking back’ (or linguistic resignification) and transformative bodily practices (or corporeal resignification). Although applauding her radicalism, the chapter nevertheless contends that what these two examples reveal are the limitations, from a democratic perspective, of Butler's project: its neglect of the anti-egalitarian tendencies rife within civil society and associational politics; its failure to attend to the numerical dimension of democratic politics; and its abandonment of the state as a site of democratic transformation.

Keywords: Judith Butler; micro-politics; corporeal resignification; radicalism; democratic politics; associational politics; civil society

Chapter.  7533 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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