LLOYD, M.S., 2009. Towards a cultural politics of vulnerability: precarious lives and ungrievable deaths. In: Carver, T. and Chambers, S.A. (eds.). Judith Butler's precarious politics: critical encounters. London: Routledge, pp. 92-105.
For a long time now I have been interested in what I see to be a particular tension in
the work of Judith Butler. This is the tension between her explicit commitment to producing
‘ontology itself as a contested field’ by exposing how particular ontological claims are
constructed and then circulate and Butler’s own unacknowledged ontological presuppositions. In previous work I have
explored this tension in terms of the relation between agency and performativity-ascitationality
in order to raise questions about Butler’s approach for an understanding of
political intervention and change. Here my focus is somewhat different. I am
interested in the ethics that Butler has begun to develop in writings such as Precarious Life,
which will be my main focus, Undoing Gender and Giving an Account of Oneself. In short,
this is an ethics, indeed a potentially global ethics, that issues out of a common human
experience of vulnerability, and particularly vulnerability to violence. What interests me are
the ontological assumptions that ground this ethics.