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Ethical Subjects in Contemporary Culture$
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Dave Boothroyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640096

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640096.001.0001

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. Vulnerability to Violence and Ethical Sensibility

. Vulnerability to Violence and Ethical Sensibility

(p.69) 4. Vulnerability to Violence and Ethical Sensibility
Ethical Subjects in Contemporary Culture

Dave Boothroyd

Edinburgh University Press

Developing further the argument of the previous chapter, this chapter turns to the significance of ‘the skin’ as neither simply a trope nor a species of naturalism in the theory of contact/touch within the ethical encounter with the other. The skin is considered in terms of the highly qualified notion of a cultural surface established in previous chapters. It explores further the question of the language/phenomenon distinction with respect to ethical contact and contextualises the discussion in relation to Georges Bataille's famous meditation on the image of the torture of Fou-Tchou-Li (Tears of Eros). This serves the further analysis of the skin as the boundary between the Same/Other and as the basis for thinking through Levinas's notion of ethical passivity. At the same time it raises the issue of the status of the image (and the image of suffering – returned to in a later chapter.)

Keywords:   Suffering, violence, torture, the skin, ethical sensibility, sensate life, Bataille, the image, representation, individuation

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