Giving An Account Of Oneself By Judith Butler

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Giving an Account of Oneself, a compelling piece of work written by Judith Butler, digs deep into what it means to give an account of oneself and how it is nearly, if not entirely, impossible to do such an activity without becoming “a social theorist” (Butler 8). Butler states “the story of my origin I tell is not one for which I am accountable, and it cannot establish my accountability,” (Butler 37) since the story is always changing. We are not able to give our accounts as the accounts we give will always be told in different lights and we, as beings, are always changing as the norms around us change. The sense of being ties into us not being the same person we were when we came into being, and nor are we the same being as when we begin to tell the story of our origin of being. However, other notable influences, such as Levinas, believe that fully exposing our origin of being would act as a sort of “surplus” (Levinas 79) meaning those we expose our origin of being to will be so overwhelmed with the situation that we would never be able to give an account of ourselves overall. Levinas’ views coincides with Butlers’ on the topic of norms and how we will never be able to act outside of norms when he states, “the moment I realize that the terms by which I confer recognition are not mine alone… I am, as it were, disposed by the language that I offer” (Levinas 26).
Giving an Account of Oneself, a compelling piece written by Judith Butler, digs deep into what it means to give an

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