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Julia Kristeva and Feminist Thought$
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Birgit Schippers

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640898

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640898.001.0001

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Kristeva and Feminism: A Critical Encounter

Kristeva and Feminism: A Critical Encounter

(p.21) 1 Kristeva and Feminism: A Critical Encounter
Julia Kristeva and Feminist Thought

Birgit Schippers

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 1 stages an encounter between Kristeva and her feminist interlocutors, and it extrapolates some of her key concepts that have been particularly influential within the feminist reception of her work. These include her distinction between the semiotic and the symbolic, her notion of the subject-in-process, her engagement with psychoanalysis and her account of corporeality. This chapter is by no means a comprehensive analysis of Kristeva's overall œuvre, but it will be helpful to those readers who are new to Kristeva's ideas. The argument advanced in this chapter suggests that Kristeva's radical philosophical and psychoanalytic assertions, which draw on the notion of the heterogeneity, instability and fluidity of the subject, and which are underpinned by her celebration of singularity and plurality, do not translate easily into feminist perspectives. This disconnect is compounded by a dispute over the meaning of the feminine, its relation to woman/women, and its location within sexual difference. However, the chapter also seeks to appreciate Kristeva's emphasis on negativity, which contributes to the articulation of feminism as a critical practice.

Keywords:   feminism, the semiotic, the symbolic, subject-in-process, psychoanalysis, corporeality, the feminine, sexual difference

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