Judith Butler publishes Gender Trouble (1990) at a time of fierce disputes in American feminist theory of the 1990s on the issue of identity. Starting from an analysis of Foucault's power matrix, Butler problematizes the centrality granted to the category "women" and argues that feminism should give up the identity "women" as its foundation. To support this position, Butler executes a genealogy of this category, retaking the discourses of power that structure the conception of identity as a methodological and normative prerequisite of politics. In doing so, Butler seeks not only to reject the sex/gender distinction, accepted by many feminist theorists, but also to present a particular conception of the identity formation process, according to which gender is a performance. This position has brought her a lot of criticism. Continuing the scientific initiation, this research aims to understand Butler's theory of performativity and the significant changes it has undergone over time. To do this, we will first look at Butler's theory of performativity as presented in Gender Trouble, as well as the main criticisms made of it. Finally, we'll look at Bodies That Matter, a book in which Butler rescues Derrida's speech act theory to reevaluate performativity as citationality, responding to criticism, and clarifying the critical potential of performativity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: