This chapter explores some of the key ideas from Judith Butler’s work. The aim is not to present a template for how to practise, as Butler would balk at this. She rejects totalising categories such as those embraced in social movements rooted in identity politics (for example, women in early feminist activism), seeing such movements as unable to capture/represent the experience of all within them or to respond adequately to changing situations. Were Butler writing for a social work audience, she would seek to deconstruct categories such as ‘black’, ‘woman’, ‘self’ and ‘Other’ and challenge us to question routinely accepted beliefs that may do unseen and unacknowledged harm. She is not an easily accessible writer, but she is thought-provoking.
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