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Athens in ParisAncient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277254.001.0001

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Antigone between Ethics and Politics

Antigone between Ethics and Politics

(p.96) 2 Antigone between Ethics and Politics
Athens in Paris

Miriam Leonard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Hegel's seminal interpretation of Sophocles in the Phenomenology of Spirit dramatizes a clash between family and State, the individual and the polis. This chapter investigates the legacy of this Hegelian reading in French post-war debates about ethics and politics. Lacan's Antigone flees the state and its moral dictates to take refuge in an ethics of ‘pure desire’. Antigone's resistance to Creon represents a resistance to the political as such. In his student Luce Irigaray, however, Lacan finds a critic all too anxious to expose the dangerous ideological leanings of Lacan's apolitical Greeks. Derrida's re-reading of Hegel's Antigone exposes the exclusionary politics of Hegel's philhellenism. Hegel's investment in Greek culture is predicated on the construction of an internal other — the Jew. This section explores how an opposition between Hellenism and Hebraism lies behind both Hegel's and Derrida's notion of citizenship in the Antigone.

Keywords:   Lacan, Derrida, Luce Irigaray, Greek, Jew, family, state

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