Judith Butler och det sörjande självets kapacitet till icke-våld – influenser från Sigmund Freud och Melanie Klein


  • Anna Nyström Doktorand i filosofi/Gästdoktorand i genusvetenskap




Judith Butler, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, relationen mellan jaget och den andra, beroende, sörjande, icke-våldsetik


This article discusses how we can understand the self and its capacities for non-violence within the conceptualization of mourning in the work of the feminist philosopher Judith Butler. Though Butler is mainly read as a Foucauldian and a Hegelian, I highlight an often-neglected reading which shows the importance of psychoanalysis for Butler’s thinking. I claim that Sigmund Freud’s and Melanie Klein’s respective understandings of the intersubjective constitution of the self, as structured by mourning, are crucial for Butler’s understanding of the self as relational. Since ambivalence and aggression are important parts of the self’s relational constitution, Butler’s self, inspired by Freud and Klein, is confronted with the ethical task of handling its disposition to destruction with non-violence.

While Butler admits the importance of Freud for their understanding of the self, the role of Klein is more ambivalent in their writing. I show how Klein provides Butler with an understanding of how the self is dependent on its other and at the same time that the self-other relation is the place where ego’s struggle between love and hate is played out. According to my reading, a Kleinian perspective further includes that the self is capable by its structure to handle the hate that dependency on the other awakens. However, I argue that a Kleinian perspective on love is still not yet sufficiently explored in Butler’s ethics. I contend that it is understandable that Butler is wary of Klein’s understanding of the self as intra-psychical and drive-structured, in contrast to their own understanding of the self as ontologically social. But, according to my reading, a Kleinian perspective on how to increase love to diminish hate could be more explored to balance Butler’s emphasis on the self’s aggression and to contribute to a fuller ethics of non-violence.


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Tema: Feministiska perspektiv på fred och krig