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Sex, or the Unbearable (Theory Q) Hardcover – December 9, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“What’s lovely about this exchange is that Berlant and Edelman’s mutually locked horns don’t make us feel as though a cleverer person has already figured things out and we’re simply not smart or qualified enough to piece together the unspoken counterarguments they would have to our doubts.”
-- Colin Low ― Against the Hype

"Berlant and Edelman’s three-act dialogue is wonderfully intriguing, especially in regard to how the dialogue itself bears witness to the intellectual process of ‘thinking through’ in the dialogic form."
-- Marcie Bianco ― Lambda Literary Review

"This collaboration between Berlant and Edelman has a feel for the ecology of thinking as it passes between two points. Like holding one’s breath under water or passing a balloon back and forth without its touching the floor, these conversations illuminate the sense of timing with which ideas respond to and are shaped by each other." 
-- Michael D. Snediker ― Theory & Event

“Berlant and Edelman take debates around the antisocial thesis as a point of departure to theorize the importance of relationality, loss and repair, sovereignty, and negativity in the politics and ethics of queer theory. Despite the overlapping topics of interest that have marked their respective works, their varying theoretical approaches make for a smart, enlivening, and productive conversation in Sex, or the Unbearable.”
-- Fiona I. B. Ngô ― American Studies

“While Berlant and Edelman do not address popular romances, their work can be informative to the work of romance scholars in tackling issues of the place of sex and the erotic, especially within some romance tropes, such as discovery of a new sexual orientation plots in queer romances, or submissive-for-you plots in many erotic romances of all orientations.” 
-- Amanda Jo Hobson ― Journal of Popular Romance Studies

“Among the book’s major attractions is its inventive dialogic form, and Berlant and Edelman’s masterful close readings of diverse media. The authors alternate named passages, riffing on each others’ ideas and including their moments of complex ambiguous affect, including responses to the other of misappropriation, frustration, delight and surprise, so often elided in collaborative critical theory. This dialogic form and its auto-analysis is one of the great intellectual joys of the book, a fascinating and inventive device well-suited to a discussion of the complex investments subjects have in relationality, including sex, conversation, and pedagogy.”
-- Jessica Durham ― Colloquy Published On: 2015-11-01

“These two authors offer an intense and highly insightful account of interactions between two subjects that, I suggest, could be fruitfully applied to understanding encounters in organizations. They show some of the complexities of relationality: it is violent, pleasurable, productive, a scene of fantasy and misrecognition, all these and more.”
-- Nancy Harding ― Gender, Work & Organization Published On: 2016-01-01

“As an overall project, Sex, or the Unbearable pushes forward the debate on queer negativity and antisociality, whilst also contributing to contemporary queer, feminist and cultural theory’s wider critiques of academic knowledge production and the political utility of academic scholarship.”
-- Kathryn Medien and Jacob Breslow ― Sexualities Published On: 2015-09-01


"The good news is that theory is alive. In a dialogue characterized by precision and generosity, two key theorists of sex, affect, aesthetics, and politics imagine the possibilities for the critical transformation of the social world. The bad news is that, for these brilliant, searching antipastoralists, none of the old fixes—psychic reparation or political hope—will do. Which is to say: there is no bad news. Sex, or the Unbearable testifies to the political significance of negativity and to the ongoing force of epistemology in queer studies."
-- Heather Love, author of ― Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Duke University Press Books (December 9, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 168 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0822355809
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0822355809
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
13 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, difficult conversation.
Reviewed in Canada on February 15, 2014
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sex, or the unbearable isn't for the general reader ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 2, 2016
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