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Title: Luce Irigaray and 'La Femme Civile' : the application of the social-symbolic to female citizenship
Author: Velu, Cécile Marie Bernardine
ISNI:       0000 0001 3545 5417
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 1997
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The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that Luce Irigaray's theory of the social symbolic can be pragmatically applied to women's everyday life. Chapter One refers to Irigaray's critique of Western thought to argue that the Lacanian theory of symbolic order and Hegelian concepts of consciousness and rationality can be interpreted as acts of symbolic violence negating female subjectivity. The debate related to symbolic violence also draws on Bourdieu's approach. In chapter Two, Irigaray's proposition to create female genealogy is discussed in relation to the positioning of the female speaking subject as a legitimate subject of enunciation. The social symbolic, in this chapter, is analysed as the legitimization of the 'sensible transcendental', that is the rehabilitation of the association between matter and spirit. The Irigarian notions of Intersubjectivity and 'le travail du negatif' are also discussed. In chapter Three, the social-symbolic is examined in terms of its pragmatic application to women's rights and socio-cultural practices. A parallel is drawn between 'La Femme Civile', 'Les Droits Sexués', 'Civilité' and women's needs and existing rights in contemporary French society. The Republican French motto: 'Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité' is also used to contextualize the debate on citizenship. Chapter Four examines the possibility of applying Irigaray's principles of female subjectivity and 'La Femme Civile' to lesbians. The concept of 'contiguity', is used to argue for the autonomy of the lesbian sexual subject. Irigaray's claim for 'sexuate rights' and 'Civilité' is critically examined by setting the argument on the social-symbolic in the current lesbian debate on visibility and rights. The thesis concludes that the function of 'La Femme Civile' is to materialize and politicize the reality of the legitimate female subject in society. Although some of Irigaray's propositions can only work as guidelines to be adapted to specific situations or as strategies aiming to assert women's status and rights, Irigaray's project for female citizenship is central to the current feminist agenda.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology