Language and the Gendered Body: Butler's Early Reading of Merleau-Ponty
2013 (English)In: Hypatia, ISSN 0887-5367, E-ISSN 1527-2001, Vol. 28, no 4, 767-783 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Through a close reading of Judith Butler's 1989 essay on Merleau-Ponty's theory of sexuality as well as the texts her argument hinges on, this paper addresses the debate about the relation between language and the living, gendered body as it is understood by defenders of poststructural theory on the one hand, and different interpretations of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology on the other. I claim that Butler, in her criticism of the French philosopher's analysis of the famous Schneider case, does not take its wider context into account: either the case study that Merleau-Ponty's discussion is based upon, or its role in his phenomenology of perception. Yet, although Butler does point out certain blind spots in his descriptions regarding the gendered body, it is in the light of her questioning that the true radicality of Merleau-Ponty's ideas can be revealed. A further task for feminist phenomenology should be a thorough assessment of his philosophy from this angle, once the most obvious misunderstandings have been put to the side.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 28, no 4, 767-783 p.
Research subject Theoretical Philosophy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99902DOI: 10.1111/hypa.12040ISI: 000328451700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-99902DiVA: diva2:690350