Feminism, Negativity, Intersubjectivity Cover Image

Feminism, Negativity, Intersubjectivity
Feminism, Negativity, Intersubjectivity

Author(s): Adam Thurschwell, Drucilla Cornell
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Keywords: Julia Kristeva;

Summary/Abstract: In this paper we will focus on this story of negativity and “the feminine” as it is developed in the work of Julia Kristeva. We want to develop three interrelated themes that emerge in a reconstruction of Julia Kristeva’s account. First, we describe the psychoanalytic roots of her formulation, and in particular her ambivalent relation to the theory of Jacques Lacan. For Kristeva, feminine negativity is the unrepresentable, non-violent disrupter of all fixed linguistic and social codes, “grounded” in the originary relationship to the pre-oedipal mother. Kristeva’s “femininity” is both destructive power and life-enabling source. In it she sees the potential and home of a mode of relating that is captured by neither repressive totality nor hierarchized difference. However, we will suggest that Kristeva’s sole reliance on the negative makes this goal unreachable, and indeed brings her close to the very tendencies that she wants to avoid. Although Kristeva is well aware of the dangers of separatism, absolute rejection, and abstract negation, her entwinement with the Lacanian framework makes escape difficult. Worse yet, her psychoanalytic approach permits the expression of the longing for a relation beyond the dictates of the Oedipal narrative, but cannot completely escape its spell.

  • Issue Year: 5/1985
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 484-504
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English