I don’t remember if I said this before in this space but I can’t get over how Judith Butler is the high priestess of fluidity and her wife Wendy Brown is its fiercest critic in the Zygmunt Bauman and Dardot/Laval way. Opposites attract, I guess.
It’s truly unfair that Butler is so much more famous while the clearly more talented Brown has had to trail her all over the world as an unwanted spousal hire.
Butler’s writing is notoriously indigestible. She writes in the style of, “the subjectivation of the dialectic of this range of ontological categories subverts the hermeneutics of the absolutes which, as we all know, is profoundly onomastic.”
Wendy Brown, on the other hand, writes like normal people. A random quote:
Once about developing intelligent, thoughtful elites and reproducing culture, and more recently, enacting a principle of equal opportunity and cultivating a broadly educated citizenry, higher education now produces human capital, thereby turning classically humanist values on their head.
This is still academic writing, obviously, but it’s not incomprehensible. Another one, again, completely random:
Both persons and states are construed on the model of the contemporary firm, both persons and states are expected to comport themselves in ways that maximize their capital value in the present and enhance their future value, and both persons and states do so through practices of entrepreneurialism, self-investment, and/or attracting investors.
And yet her rah-rah-fluidity, nobody-knows-what-the-hell-my-endless-sentences-mean wife is much more famous.
Have I ever reviewed Wendy Brown on the blog? She’s very relevant to our discussions of fluidity. And if somebody is looking for an accessible variation on Bauman, she’s great.