Feminists Theorize the Political by Judith Butler, Joan W. Scott

By Judith Butler, Joan W. Scott

First released in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Consider the legal restrictions that regulate what does and does not count as rape: here the politics of violence operate through regulating what will and will not be able to appear as an effect of violence. There is, then, already in this foreclosure a violence at work, a marking off in advance of what will or will not qualify under the signs of "rape" or "government violence," or in the case of states in which twelve separate pieces of empirical evidence are required to establish "rape," what then can be called a governmentally facilitated rape.

13. The body posited as prior to the sign, is always posited or signified as prior. This signification works through producing an effect of its own procedure, the body that it nevertheless and simultaneously claims to discover as that which precedes signification. If the body signified as prior to signification is an effect of signification, then the mimetic or representational status of language, which claims that signs follow bodies as their necessary mirrors, is not mimetic at all; on the contrary, it is productive, constitutive, one might even argue performative, inasmuch as this signifying act produces the body that it then claims to find prior to any and all signification.

12. " in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Nelson and Grossberg, (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988). 13. The body posited as prior to the sign, is always posited or signified as prior. This signification works through producing an effect of its own procedure, the body that it nevertheless and simultaneously claims to discover as that which precedes signification. If the body signified as prior to signification is an effect of signification, then the mimetic or representational status of language, which claims that signs follow bodies as their necessary mirrors, is not mimetic at all; on the contrary, it is productive, constitutive, one might even argue performative, inasmuch as this signifying act produces the body that it then claims to find prior to any and all signification.

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