Is this so new?

Perhaps this is my utter ignorance of the chronology of this postmodern strain of critical theory, but there is something in Butler's central thesis that strikes me as not especially revolutionary. She writes as if no one, to date, has made the connection between political power and domination of the psyche. Indeed, she offers this most in depth exploration into the theoretical underpinnings of the ways in which Freud and Foucault can be navigated to create a theory that acknowledges power's supression on a psychic level. Yet, I can't help but feel like I've heard it all before - if only in slightly different vocabulary. Coming from a cultural studies perspective, this sounds like a fancy way of explaining the work behind the idea of the 'decolonization of the mind': oppressive forces co-opt our most private space - our own sense of self - in effort to suppress from within. Internalization of social norms, which Butler spends some time discussing, is the basic instance.

I was poking around online in attempt to situate this seeming redundancy in a bit more accurate chronology: while Butler's work was published in 1997, it seems that this concept started popping up, at the very latest, in the mid-80s. Perhaps I'm jaded, but I find it frustrating that the valuable contributions of cultural studies writers with regard to a very similar discourse were again left on the margins of this somehow more expansive theoretical vein of subjectivity. I acknowledge that my sense of dynamics within critical theory is shady; this was merely my first reaction to encountering Butler's central claims.

Did this sound familiar to anyone else? Am I completely misreading her argument? If not, I am interested as to what you all think is the significance of this lag in the development of this iteration of the postmodernist conversation on subjectivity?

I definitely agree that the major themes of all these postmodern writers are becoming to sound very familiar. I know while I was reading through Butler's book that I was thinking, 'oh this is another one of those things where you think one thing is happening but oh no, it's really doing something else'.

Sometimes it is pretty challenging to try and grasp a clear understanding of what these authors are arguing. It seems that the understanding of postmodernity comes from the whole contradictory nature of it. I guess that's the beauty of it, but yes, I do agree that it sounded very repetitive.