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DifferencesRe-reading Beauvoir and Irigaray$
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Emily Anne Parker and Anne van Leeuwen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190275594

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190275594.001.0001

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The Question of the Subject and the Matter of Violence

The Question of the Subject and the Matter of Violence

(p.196) Chapter 7 The Question of the Subject and the Matter of Violence

Debra Bergoffen

Oxford University Press

Negotiating the distance between Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray reveals that, despite their diverse starting points and philosophical commitments, they arrive at similar conclusions regarding the issue of violence against woman. Beauvoir’s existential–phenomenological account of the embodied vicissitudes of freedom and Irigaray’s psychoanalytic account of the bodied drives that structure human symbolic existence reveal that so long as women are signified as woman, the second sex (Beauvoir) and the power of masculine symbolic to silence all other articulations the human endures (Irigaray), men can and will imagine they are immune from the vulnerabilities of the human condition. Understanding the abuse of women throughout the ages and across the globe marks it as a symptom of the flight from vulnerability, identifies the high stakes of this flight, and directs us to develop strategies of resistance that, by resignifying the meaning of vulnerability, gets at the roots of the violence.

Keywords:   violence against women, vulnerability, Simone de Beauvoir, Luce Irigaray, subjectivity

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