Liverpool Law Review

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 303–335 | Cite as

Resignifications and subversive transformations: Judith Butler’s queer theory and women who kill

  • Anna CarlineEmail author


This article provides an empirical study of a number of cases dealing with women who kill their abusive partners and the construction of the battered woman syndrome in order to identity the possibilities for transformation within the legal system. Drawing upon the work of Judith Butler, the article will argue that the unstable nature of social terms and the nature of social power provides the potential for resignifying and subversively transforming the gender identities constructed and perpetuated by the law. In addition to outlining the defences for murder and engaging in a close examination of the cases, the article will also provide a critical analysis of Judith Butler’s approach to subject formation.


Battered woman syndrome homicide Judith Butler queer theory resignification subversive transformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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