Volatile Bodies : Toward a Corporeal Feminism
The location of the author's investigations, the body itself rather than the sphere of subjective representations of self and of function in cultures, is wholly new.... I believe this work will be a landmark in future feminist thinking." -Alphonso LingisThis is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminists to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but sets a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the status of the body." -Judith Butler Volatile Bodies demonstrates that the sexually specific body is socially constructed: biology or nature is not opposed to or in conflict with culture. Human biology is inherently social and has no pure or natural "origin" outside of culture. Being the raw material of social and cultural organization, it is "incomplete" and thus subject to the endless rewriting and social inscription that constitute all sign systems.Examining the theories of Freud, Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, etc. on the subject of the body, Elizabeth Grosz concludes that the body they theorize is male. These thinkers are not providing an account of "human" corporeality but of male corporeality. Grosz then turns to corporeal experiences unique to women-menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause. Her examination of female experience lays the groundwork for developing theories of sexed corporeality rather than merely rectifying flawed models of male theorists.
- Paperback | 272 pages
- 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
- 01 Dec 1994
- Indiana University Press
- Bloomington, IN, United States
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About Elizabeth Grosz
ELIZABETH GROSZ is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Critical and Cultural Studies, Monash University. She is the author of Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists and Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction.
"... one of the best cultural studies books on theories of the body." - Passion " ... Grosz writes a thorough and philosophically well-crafted prolegomenon for a new corporeal feminism." - Signs "Working through an impressive range of theories, it raises important questions and ventures into new terrain which invites further exploration."- Rocky Mountain Review " ... a must-read for feminist scholars and for any serious scholar of the body." - Review "Volatile Bodies is an enlightening and critically significant addition to feminist discussions of embodiment, sexuality, and difference." - Masculinities "This is a lucidly written study, which sets out debates clearly for those not familiar with the field, while being impressive in its erudition." - Radical Philosophy "This is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminist to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but set a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the body." - Judith Butler "Because it both offers arms for counterviolence and a sharply critical read of the philosophical foundations of much of the new critical work in anthropology, the book is highly recommended ..." - American Anthropologist Elizabeth Grosz examines the corporeal experiences unique to women- menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause- to lay the groundwork for new theories of sexed corporeality.
Table of contents
Introduction and AcknowledgmentsPart I. Introduction1. Refiguring BodiesPart II. The Inside Out2. Psychoanalysis and Psychical Topographies3. Body Images: Neurophysiology and Corporeal Mappings4. Lived Bodies: Phenomenology and the FleshPart III. The Outside In5. Nietzsche and the Choreography of Knowledge6. The Body as Inscriptive Surface7. Intensities and FlowsPart IV. Sexual Difference8. Sexed BodiesNotesBibliographyIndex