Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Gender identity and the longing for recognition : Hegel, Butler and the self
Author: Svensson , Jenny
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Hegel's discussion of the development of self-consciousness in the Phenomenology of Spirit has often been used as a model for political liberation. Political philosophy and feminism in particular, often assume that the precondition for political change is the subject's autonomous position. This is an assumption coloured by Kojeve's reading of Hegel. Kojeve's interpretation of the Hegelian narrative has, in turn, influenced feminist theorists of self, such as Simone de Beauvoir, J essica Benjamin, and Luce Irigaray. Since these feminist theories of self approach Hegel through Kojeve they establish a subject that seeks her identity through the parameters of masculinity. However, Kojeve's focus on the autonomous self resembles the Cartesian legacy of the Cogito ergo sum rather than the Hegelian subject. This becomes clear if we read Hegel's criticism of Descartes' Cogito as wholly isolated from the social world; a criticism in turn, due to Kojeve's Cartesian inheritance, that can be extended to Kojeve's reading of He gel's Phenomenology. Judith Butler's theory of gender performativity (as a theory of 'self) is often seen as proposing a subject robbed of its autonomy and agency. Butler has been criticised on these grounds by Martha Nussbaum, Seyla Benhabib, and Allison Weir. This thesis places gender performativity alongside Hegel's theorising and aims to localise a subject that clings to ideais of detachment, yet can only realise its separated identity through the attachment to the other. A longing for recognition functions as a motivating factor for the re-enacting of norms of detachment. Feminist politics such as Nussbaum's, Benhabib's, and Weir's thus share with Kojeve certain conclusions regarding the political agent. Reading Butler's theory of gender performativity alongside Hegel's theorising enables a critique of the feminist political quest for the autonomous subject; a quest that renders the feminist dismissal of Butler's theory of gender performativity itself an example of masculine gender performativity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available