Reaction Formations: Dialogism, Ideology, and Capitalist Culture

Bakhtin and Voloshinov argued that dialogue is the intersubjective basis of consciousness, and of the creativity which makes historical changes in consciousness possible. The multiple dialogical relationships give every subject, who has developed through internalizing them, the potential to distance him or herself from them. Consciousness is, therefore, an “unfinalized” process, always open to a possible future which would not merely reiterate the past. But this book explores its corollary: The relative openness is a field of conflict where rival discourses struggle for hegemony, by subordinating or eliminating their rivals. That is how the unconscious is created out of socio-historical conflicts. Hegemony is always incomplete because there is always the possibility of a return of its repressed rivals in new combinations.

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Feminist Philosophy

This entry provides an overview of all the entries in the feminist philosophy section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). After a brief account of the history of feminist philosophy and various issues regarding defining feminism, the entry discusses the three main sections on (1) approaches to feminist philosophy, (2) feminist interventions in philosophy, and (3) feminist philosophical topics.

Feminists working in all the main Western traditions of contemporary philosophy are using their respective traditions to approach their work, including the traditions of analytic, Continental, and pragmatist philosophy, along with other various orientations and intersections. As they do so, they are also intervening in how longstanding basic philosophical problems are understood. As feminist philosophers carry out work in traditional philosophical fields, from ethics to epistemology, they have introduced new concepts and perspectives that have transformed philosophy itself. They are also rendering philosophical previously un-problematized topics, such as the body, class and work, disability, the family, reproduction, the self, sex work, human trafficking, and sexuality. And they are bringing a particularly feminist lens to issues of science, globalization, human rights, popular culture, and race and racism.

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Posted in Feminist Epistemology | Tagged

Feminism After Bourdieu

How might Bourdieu’s social philosophy and social theory be of use to feminism? And how might it relate to – or possibly even fruitfully reframe – the ongoing problematics and current theoretical issues of feminism? It is very well recognized that Bourdieu’s social theory had relatively little to say about women or gender (although see Bourdieu, 2001) with most of his writings framed preeminently in terms of issues of class (Moi, 1991). Yet the premise of this volume is that this substantive omission should not be taken to mean that Bourdieu’s theoretical apparatus does not necessarily have relevance for feminism. Other key contemporary social theorists such as Foucault and Habermas have also – substantively speaking – had little to say about women and gender or indeed feminism but this, of course, has not stopped feminists deploying, rethinking and critically developing the theoretical resources offered by this theorists produce some of the most influential, compelling and productive forms of contemporary feminist theorizing (see eg Butler, 1993; Fraser, 1997). In this volume contributors will use, critique, critically extend and develop Bourdieu’s social theory to address some of the most pressing issues of our times. And in so doing they will address both ongoing and key contemporary problematics in contemporary feminist theory. These include the problematic of theorizing social agency (and especially the problematic of social versus performative agency); the issue of the relationship of social movements (and especially women’s movements) to social change; the politics of cultural authorization; the theorization of technological forms of embodiment (that is the theorization of embodiment post bounded conceptions of the body); the relations of affect to the political; and the articulation of principles of what might be termed a new feminist materialism which goes beyond Bourdieu’s own social logics.

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Feminist Theory After Deleuze

Feminist Theory After Deleuze addresses the encounter between one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers, Gilles Deleuze, and one of its most significant political and intellectual movements, feminism. Feminist theory is a broad, contradictory, and still evolving school of thought. This book introduces the key movements within feminist theory, engaging with both Anglo-American and French feminism, as well as important strains of feminist thought that have originated in Australia and other parts of Europe.

Mapping both the feminist critique of Deleuze’s work and the ways in which it has brought vitality to feminist theory, this book brings Deleuze into dialogue with significant thinkers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Rosi Braidotti, Judith Butler, Elizabeth Grosz and Luce Irigaray. It takes key terms in feminist theory such as, ‘difference’, ‘gender’, ‘bodies’, ‘desire’ and ‘politics’ and approaches them from a Deleuzian perspective.

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Concept and History: The (Trans)disciplinarity of Deleuze and Guattari’s Political Philosophy

While Deleuze and Guattari’s work has been criticized from a number of angles, one of the most pernicious readings is Alain Badiou’s claim that since Deleuze and Guattari assign an irreducible disciplinary modality to philosophy but not to politics in their What is Philosophy? (1994 [1991]), we should consider their philosophical ontology as both pre-established and ultimately indifferent to concrete political considerations. By examining the disciplinarity of philosophy in Deleuze and Guattari, in its dynamic relation to extra-philosophical domains, this article shows that far from constituting an obstacle to the development of political critique, an irreducible conception of philosophy as a discipline, rather, conditions such critique. The article explores this point with regard to the difference between history and becoming in Deleuze and Guattari’s work, and in terms of the shift that takes place in their work from a structuralist to a machinic philosophical ontology.

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Immanence and Desire: Deleuze and the Political

Spinoza posed the fundamental problem of politics as a question of desire: Why do humans fight for their servitude as if it were their salvation? Why does desire desire its own repression? Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari take up this question in Anti-Oedipusand attempt to provide a rigorous response. Whereas Plato defined desire in terms if lack (if I desire something, it is because I lack it), Kant effected a revolution in thought by defining desire in terms of production (because I desire something, I produce it). It is this productive concept of desire that allows Deleuze and Guattari to effect a synthesis between Freud (libidinal economy) and Marx (political economy), though as I argue Deleuze and Guattari’s deeper points of reference are Spinoza and Nietzsche. We conclude by analyzing Deleuze and Guattari’s relation to the question of a democratic politics.

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Deleuze And Masculinity

Masculinity studies have developed as an inherently interdisciplinary project since beginning in the 1970s. As part of broader growth, scholarship has devoted much time and energy to understanding and questioning the concept that boys are in crisis. Some scholars argue that masculinity has been synonymous with discourses of crisis since the 1700s, as a focus on unattainable ideals leads to anxiety about failure. These discourses persist but are certainly not the dominant way in which masculinity is learned in cultural pedagogies of gender. To a great extent, masculinity is largely taught and learned through embodied and symbolic sets of practices that take place in a range of places and are distributed across often quite complex networks. Online and offline, between generations, cultures and classes, the gender performance that is popularly recognized as ‘masculinity’ is fluid in the different ways it can embody or represent courage, leadership, protectiveness, strength, power, control and command.

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Habermas and communicative power

Habermas’ concept of communicative power as an expression of citizens’ political autonomy is first outlined and its significance is traced as a corrective to the narrowly strategic and conflictual account of power dominant in the social sciences. Nonetheless, the problems with Habermas’ account in doing justice to the creativity of social power in shaping the substantive parameters of communicative power are diagnosed. These are seen to result from his over‐dependence on a formal and deontological theory of morality and a polycentric–synchronic theory of society. A path forward is suggested in which the concept of communicative power is set in relation to both social and functional forms of power within a combined philosophical and social‐theoretical framework emphasizing diachronic, agential, socio‐cognitive, and learning theory dimensions.

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Communicative Power in Habermas’s Theory of Democracy

This article critically examines Jürgen Habermas’s theory of democracy as developed in Between Facts and Norms. In particular, it focuses on the concept of communicative power and argues that there is a crucial ambiguity in Habermas’s use of this concept. Since communicative power is the key normative resource that is supposed to counter the norm-free steering media of money and administrative power, its role within the theory must be made clear. The article begins by explaining the normative and social-theoretic foundations of the theory. Then it highlights the normative importance of the public sphere in Habermas’s two-track model of deliberative politics, before turning to the problems with the concept of communicative power. Two alternative readings of its role are provided in order to demonstrate how it needs to be further clarified.

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The Transformation of Communicative Power Into Political Power

This article examines Jürgen Habermas’ concept of communicative power and describes how it transforms into political power in actual decision-making. For this purpose, the article develops the use of Habermas’ typology of validity claims in communicative action as a framework for analysis. This means analyzing how public performances invoking these validity claims affect actors’ authority, which is then capitalized in policymaking. The article thus integrates Habermas’ procedural view on deliberative politics with the more culturally oriented view on political performances. It also contributes to the discussion about the “mediatization of politics” by introducing a communicative perspective to complement the more common institutional and systems perspectives. This theoretical and analytical approach is illustrated by examples drawn from the evidence in 16 semi-structured interviews conducted with participants in the policy networks involved in the 2015 Finnish labor market negotiations.

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